This is quite possibly my favorite time of year. Autumn paints the world in bright, warm colors and announces the coming of the holidays. I owe you an apology, because, I was so busy stuffing my face, that I didn’t get this recipe for Indian Pudding to you in time for your Thanksgiving gathering, but you’ll now have something new to surprise everyone at the Christmas table.
The weather has not been very autumnal here in Southern California. So, I’ve been calling for cool weather by baking up a storm in my kitchen. Thanksgiving and Fall always make me think about the humble beginnings of our country. Indian pudding is a long-forgotten treat that dates back to the 1700s.
British settlers brought their recipe for Hasty Pudding to the New World. It was a simple porridge made from flour boiled in milk or water. Wheat flour was scarce then, so they incorporated cornmeal they called Indian flour, instead. With time, butter, aromatic spices, maple syrup, dried fruits and nuts were tossed into the mix of what came be to known as Indian Pudding.
What it lacks in looks, it makes up for in texture and flavor. Gooey, buttery, warm and fragrant, Indian Pudding is irresistible served warm with a globe of vanilla ice cream on top. It’s also gluten-free since there’s no flour in it and made without refined sugar, just maple syrup.
On a night when the wind is howling outside and the table hosts a warm gathering by the fire, this humble dessert from long ago makes an impressive finish to the meal. It’s absolutely delicious as breakfast, too.
Prep: 15 mins
Bake: 1 hour
3 cups whole organic milk
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 Tb butter
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch freshly-grated nutmeg
pinch tsp salt
1/2 cup pecans (optional)
Crush pecans and toast in a small nonstick pan. Set aside.
Lightly beat eggs and set aside.
Melt butter and brush some inside a 10-inch pie dish.
Set a large pot over medium-high heat and bring milk to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, add maple syrup, cook 4 mins.
Add cornmeal and stir constantly another 6 to 8 mins.
Grate nutmeg over mixture, add melted butter, cinnamon and salt.
Remove from heat and let cool 5 mins.
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Temper the eggs. Stirring constantly, drizzling a bit of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Add a bit more of the milk mixture to the eggs, then add the egg mixture into the milk mixture.
Pour into buttered baking dish and bake 45-60 mins. When you can smell it, it’l ready.
Sprinkle toasted pecans on top and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or homemade whipped cream.