(recipe from The Plimoth Plantation New England Cookery Book by Malabar Hornblower, The Harvard Common Press, 1990)
This is a true regional New England dish. The first written version of this recipe does not appear until 1796 in the first American cookbook, but there were references to it as a common dish years earlier. John Jossyln refers to the corn meal and milk portion as hasty pudding in 1672, and the addition of molasses as a sweetener isn’t far behind.
BTW, the ‘Indian’ in the Indian Pudding identifies the grain used – cornmeal or Indian meal.
4 cups milk
2/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
optional — cream, whipped cream or ice cream when serving
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish.
In a large saucepan, heat the milk molasses and butter, stirring to blend them. Over moderate heat, bring them slowly to just under a boil, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt and sift them into a bowl. When the milk and molasses are close to– but not quite—boiling, gradually stir in the cornmeal mixture. Cook mixing constantly so that no lumps form, until the pudding thickens enough to hold its shape when stirred.
With a rubber spatula, scrape the pudding into the buttered baking. Add the 2 cups milk, but do not mix it in; let it float on the top. Bake the pudding 1 hour without stirring. Then stir in the milk and bake two hours longer,
Serve the pudding with cream, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.