An old-fashioned New England favorite, Indian pudding is a classic American dessert that just happens to be low in calories. I remember tasting it for the first time at the original Durgin Park restaurant in Boston, back in the 1960s. As with many other starch-based puddings, success with this recipe depends on long, slow cooking. Some modern interpretations add a couple of eggs to help the pudding set quickly, but the real thing is made without eggs.

Makes about 8 servings


4 1/2 cups whole milk, divided

3 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup half-and-half, for serving

One 1 1/2- to 2-quart gratin dish or other baking dish, sprayed with vegetable cooking spray

  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
  2. Place 3 1/2 cups of the milk and the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan, such as an enameled-iron Dutch oven. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the cornmeal into the remaining 1 cup milk in a small bowl.
  4. Whisk the diluted cornmeal into the hot milk a quarter at a time.
  5. Continue cooking the cornmeal over very low heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, molasses, salt, and cinnamon.
  7. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake the pudding for about 1 hour, or until it is set, but still soft.
  8. Cool the pudding briefly on a rack and serve immediately.

Serving: Spoon the warm pudding onto plates or dessert bowls and top each serving with 2 tablespoons of the half-and-half.

Wrap leftovers and keep at a cool room temperature. They are best reheated in a microwave oven.