Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pumpkin Indian Pudding

What a strange thing this was. I have a memory of my mother making indian pudding for Thanksgiving dessert one year. In my memory it was sweet and velvety, like the filling for pumpkin pie. Of course it couldn't have really been like that. Indian Pudding is a sort of New Englander's polenta. It's cornmeal mixed with milk and stirred on the stove for a very long time. Then you bake it in the oven for even longer. I found this to be very sweet, almost too much the flavor of molasses. It also is not the prettiest dessert I've ever made. But it is a New England treat, dating back to pilgrim time.

Pumpkin Indian Pudding

1/4 cup coarse-grind cornmeal
1 cup water
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly spray a 1-1/2 quart souffle dish or casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a bowl, stir cornmeal into water, mixing well. Transfer to a heavy saucepan and stir in 2 cups of the milk and salt, blending well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over med-high heat, stirring, 10 minutes longer until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients except remaining cup of milk. Pour into prepared dish. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Remove and stir in the last cup of milk. Return to oven and bake 1-1/2 hours longer, until thick and bubbly. Serve warm.

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