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For a delicious pumpkin pie alternative, we recommend Indian pudding. This baked custard is made with cornmeal and flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar. A bit more robust than classic pumpkin pie, we love this Indian pudding recipe because it adds a bit of spice to our lives all year long. It’s also super easy to make, so you can throw it together at any time.
You may be surprised to learn that Indian pudding is not from India; it’s actually a classic New England Thanksgiving dish! Its name is actually derived from the American Indians, which we all refer to as Native Americans today.
The dish originates from the early settlers who had an affinity for a porridge-style dish they called “hasty pudding.” This pudding had a thick consistency that was achieved by boiling wheat flour in milk or water. For struggling colonists, this dish was easy to make and versatile; they could prepare it as a sweet treat with molasses or make it savory with meat.
As time progressed, the dish became tradition, and by the time it was featured in cookbooks during the 1700s, it was a sweet dish that relied heavily on cornmeal due to the fact flour in the New World was considered a commodity.
There was an abundance of corn throughout New England, however, which meant that cornmeal became a stand-in for many a pilgrim’s meals. Known as the “Indian flour,” cornmeal was easy to make and acquire, so it became the foundation of one of the colonists’ favorite recipes.
Classic Indian Pudding Recipe
If you grew up in New England, then you probably had batches of this Thanksgiving classic served to you throughout your life. Anyone who was raised beyond the borders of New England, however, often have no idea what this dish entails. They’re in for a real treat, and we’re excited to bring awareness to a recipe that is truly a slice of history.
Heritage in the United States is as diverse as the people who live throughout the nation; every region has its own unique history, customs and, of course, traditional recipes. Serving Indian pudding at your next Thanksgiving will be a wonderful way to pay homage to the earliest moments of our nation.
You can serve up your Indian pudding recipe with French vanilla ice cream or in a bowl with hot cream. Some people also like to add raisins to their pudding, which makes for a nice crunch and added a touch of sweetness.
Be sure to check out all of our Thanksgiving recipes!Print
- 4½ cups milk
- ⅔ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup dark molasses
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease a 1½ quart baking dish.
- Scald 3½ cups of milk in top of double boiler over direct heat. Remove milk from heat.
- Mix cornmeal with remaining 1 cup of milk, and stir this mixture into the scalding milk, stirring constantly. Place the milk mixture into the top of the double boiler and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir butter, molasses, salt, sugar and cinnamon into the mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake in the preheated 325°F (165°C) oven for 1½ hours.