INDIAN PUDDING (for eight)
The technique for making Indian pudding is similar to that for the traditional British hasty pudding. Hasty pudding appears in British cookbooks by the end of the 16th century, but the English used wheat flour, rye flour, oatmeal or other starches in place of cornmeal. When they reached North America, Pilgrims were introduced by natives to corn, and to a corn gruel, sweetened with honey and berries, made by the tribes. These recipes included neither milk nor molasses. Two hundred years later, by the end of the 18th century, American recipes included what was called an Indian pudding that combined the hasty pudding technique with a New World crop, corn. The dish was flavored with colonial products like ginger, nutmeg and molasses.
butter, for the baking dish
4 cups whole milk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup molasses
½ cup sugar
½ cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground ginger
whipped cream or ice cream for serving
1.Heat oven to 350* and butter a 2 quart baking dish. In a large pot, warm milk over medium high heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk in cornmeal and molasses and cook, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low.
2. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and lightly beat. Very slowly add ½ cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour tempered egg mixture into the pot, whisking constantly to keep eggs from scrambling, and cook 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
3. Stir in sugar, raisins, vanilla and ginger. Pour mixture into prepared pan, then place in a larger baking dish or roasting pan. Transfer to oven and carefully pour water into larger dish until it comes halfway up the sides of the smaller baking dish.
4. Bake until the pudding is set, but still jiggles slightly in the center, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
NOTE: Indian pudding can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered, overnight. Before serving reheat, uncovered, in a 250* oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
from the New York Times