Saturday, December 3, 2011
Baked Indian Pudding
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite... I suspect I'm about to make a fool of myself. Despite that, I'll continue on, sure in the knowledge that I am in the company of good friends who won't judge me too harshly. Here's the deal. Last weekend, I was blog browsing and found a recipe for (American) Indian pudding on a site I like and trust. It looked delicious and as I read through the ingredient list I realized, that despite my years in the kitchen, I had never made or tasted this dessert. It was a perfect weekend to give it a try. Which I did. The thing is, I don't know if my pudding was a triumph or a tragedy. I know it was delicious and redolent with spices, but its texture was not what I anticipated and I suspect that this was my bad. I searched the internet trying to find a blurb that described the texture of the finished pudding. If one exists, I couldn't find it, so here comes the part where I make a fool of myself. Despite 3 hours of cooking and an hour of rest, my pudding was like a soft polenta that had a very thin crust. It certainly didn't look like any of the photos I found while surfing the net. I thought it was to runny to serve, but rather than toss it out, I decided to see what would happen when it was chilled. Several hours later, I pulled it from the refrigerator and the once polenta-like mass had set and now held its shape. It looked a bit like bread pudding. I quickly warmed a serving, topped it with a scoop of ice cream and had a taste. It was delicious. Its appearance left much to be desired, but the combination was lovely and the dish had wonderful flavor. My problem is that I have unresolved issues with its texture and appearance. I hope a few of my Yankee readers will bring me up to speed. Should the pudding be loose or firm? This is a dessert that did not move westward with the pioneers and we, out here in the diaspora, are clueless. Your input would be appreciated. At any rate, here's the recipe I used to make the pudding.
Baked Indian Pudding...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Yankee Magazine and Linda Thompson
4 cups milk
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each of ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cream
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a sauce pan, bring 3 cups of the milk to a boil. Mix 1 cup of cold milk with the cornmeal and stir slowly into the hot milk. Cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring often.
2) Add butter, sugar and molasses. Remove from heat. Add salt and spices. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Gradually add 1 cup hot liquid to eggs, stirring constantly. Stir tempered eggs into cornmeal mixture. Pour into a 1-1/2 quart baking dish and bake for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes during the first hour. After 1 hour, pour cream over top of pudding but do not stir. Continue cooking until top is set, 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer. Served warm topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Cook's Note: I used light molasses and golden brown sugar to make this pudding. The color, I'm sure, is better with a full-bodied molasses and dark brown sugar. Those flavors, however, are too strong for my palate. If you are watching calories or fat grams, milk or light cream can be used in place of the heavy cream.
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