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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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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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39 comments:

Angie's Recipes said...

End is good, everything is good. It looks nice and tasty to me.
I wish I knew why the pudding was so runny after 3-hour cooking and resting. Maybe some Indian foodie friends can help us with the issue.

Adam said...

Sounds great, looks great, I think I can almost smell it :). Perhaps the discrepancy in texture is from a difference in the cornmeal. Different grind perhaps?

Ginny said...

I have never heard of this kind of pudding, but it does look good, and I can almost smell it now!

Chiara said...

Sounds delicious Mary! have a good weekend, blessings....

Coleen said...

I've never made Indian pudding either, but I always assumed it was a little like (English) steamed Christmas pudding (at least in texture). I applaud you for giving it a try!! I found one web site by a person who says they make a LOT of Indian pudding and if its done right, a liquid will separate from the pudding (while it cools) and that is supposed to be the sauce. I didn't realize how MANY Indian pudding recipes there were!!!

sangeeta said...

This pudding is not completely Indian as we don't normally use eggs in such puddings. But yes, eggs help them set better and improve food value. A similar pudding made just with eggs and crushed roasted nuts is also very popular.

This pudding, called halwa or sheera in India, is made with cream of wheat, broken wheat and even with coarse whole wheat flour or chickpea flour... and is made in a pan or oven.
Regarding the consistency, this pudding is always loose or a bit runny when hot and starts setting as it cools down. After the resting time it will stay firm even when you reheat. Hope it helps.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Looks don't mean a thing, taste and character mean a lot. I bet it tasted delicious. Sangeeta seems to have the answers. Diane

Kay Heritage said...

The recipe has a good bit of liquid, Mary, so that would explain the loose consistency. But you being an experience chef, it sounds like you did it right by chilling it! Wonderful flavor of spices and molasses sounds great to me. :)

Jeannie said...

It looks delicious although I am not familiar or even seen it being served in the indian restaurants here. With all the herbs in the ingredients, it should be really delicious!

lauren@spicedplate said...

I've never had indian pudding, but a local company sells it canned (crazy, huh?) and I've always wanted to try it, but it has wheat in it! Thanks for this gluten-free version...it sounds delicious. Could it be made without the addition of cream/milk at the end,or does that make something super good happen?

Hovkonditorn said...

Sounds delicious! I have never tried Indian pudding.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Hmmmm... you know I have nothing to offer on the texture dilemma. I am about to check out the comments to see what I can learn, too. ;) blessings ~ tanna

Kim said...

Really, I don't know about the texture this pudding should have, but it really looks good!

bellini said...

I can't say I have ever made this dessert, but my philosophy is always "if it tastes good" then eat it.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm a lifelong lover of Indian Pudding! I've been planning to make it and blog about it because I haven't had it since I moved out to California... now that I'm back in New England I'm craving it. I remember it being slightly loose when hot, which is how it needs to be eaten. I always have mine with vanilla ice cream melting into it, so it gets even looser. I will be making it soon, so we'll see how mine turns out.
I did see a canned version of it at my supermarket, which would suggest that some people like it firm, as well.

Penny Wolf said...

I believe this recipe is Indian as in Native American. Cornmeal was once referred to as Indian meal in our colonial time.I have never made it, but have eaten it. It was a texture of bread pudding.

laurie said...

I only made this once and mine didn't turn out very good, it sounds sooooo good.I will try your recipe though, I'm not a quitter, mine did seperate too, maybe its suppose do this, mmmm.

Foodycat said...

As Penny Wolf says - I think we are talking Native American rather than Asian subcontinent! The molasses and cornmeal are a bit of a clue.

I've never tried this, but when I have read about it I assumed it would be a sort of soft, spoonbread consistency.

From the Kitchen said...

This may be hard to believe but my tastes of Indian Pudding were from my days at the Pentagon. It was served in the restaurant that I mostly frequented for lunch. It wasn't the traditional smooth pudding but, rather, a little grainy in texture. As I recall, it was a bit lighter in color than yours. It appeared in the fall and am guessing it's considered a harvest type of dessert.

Have a delicious weekend.

Best,
Bonnie

Claudia said...

With a great love of Indian food, I have never done their desserts. It seems like it should firm up after awhile? I do love the flavors melding - it seems like a rich winter dessert.

Priya said...

Wat an elegant and delicious pudding.

Nisrine M. said...

Mmm, Indian pudding. How exotic.

Clint said...

You want input? OK. Here it is: this looks sensational.

Joanne said...

I wish I could clue you in, but I don't think I've ever had this either! It sounds delicious, though!

Clau said...

Olá, tem coisas que pensamos dar errado e temos uma surpresa no final.Ficou lindo e com certeza muito bom.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

After reading your post, I pulled out my Old Sturbridge Village cookbook and looked up the indian pudding recipe. Ingredients are pretty much the same (a little heavier on the spices and only molasses, no brown sugar) but there is no description of texture. Yours looks good, though, and I could go for some right now!

That Girl said...

I like to describe the consistency of Indian Pudding as similar to pumpkin pie filling.

Words Of Deliciousness said...

I have never made Indian pudding, but it really does look delicious. I too believe that taste is more important than what it looks like.

My Little Space said...

Yeap, this is sure a true American style Indian pudding. :o) The Indian doesn't bake much. Sounds intriguing too!
Kristy

sangeeta said...

I agree with Penny Wolf ...the recipe loom like a native american one. Cornmeal, molasses and eggs together doesn't make an 'Indian' Indian desert :-)

Eleanor I. Cook said...

As others have noted, this dish is definitely North American Indian, NOT Indian as in India.

I grew up with this dish. My parents were from the North (as in Yankees) and we lived in the South, but my mother made various dishes to please my dad who was born and raised in MA. Indian pudding was considered a fall dessert, usually made from Halloween through the winter.

It has an almost runny consistency even when fully baked. The flavor is full bodied and when served with Hard Sauce (basically butter with powdered sugar vanilla & mixed together) it is divine.

It IS the consistency of baby shit and pretty much looks like it, but don't think of that way, instead think of it as wonderful...

Mary said...

Eleanor, thank you so much for your comment and the information you passed on. I knew if I was patient someone would have the answer I needed. Have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

lea said...

I made it once from a Julie Child book. It made the house smell wonderful, but all the stirring and cooking time wasn't worth the end result. Mine was grainy but full of flavor however I'd much rather have bread pudding. My bad too.

tender b. said...

This looks really good!

Linda A. Thompson said...

I'm glad you tried the recipe. My finished pudding IS like soft polenta, so you had it correct!

Karen Barnaby said...

Don't stir it while in the oven, don't use eggs - baking them that long leads to a curdled texture - and bake it in a shallow dish, like a 9-inch pie pan. It should be soft and creamy when done but still hold together at room temperature.

Mary said...

Karen, thanks so much for the information. I really do appreciate it. Blessings...Mary

Andrea del Valle said...

Ate this growing up. My grandmother's recipe was always close to the consistency of cream of wheat. So savory and comforting.

VaxGhost said...

I can't help but comment. The "Indian" doesn't refer to the recipe, but to the cornmeal ingredient. In the old days of the United States, and especially in New England, the grain we know as "corn", and known elsewhere in the world as "maize", was almost universally referred to as "Indian corn". The word "corn" was synonymous with the modern usage of "grain". So to differentiate, they used the term "Indian corn", as opposed to, for instance "barley corn". Anything with corn in it subsequently came to be called "Indian" as a kind of shorthand.

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