Seasonal Fare with Flair: A Nice Indian Pudding

Those of you who like cornbread may want to try Indian Pudding for a change. Thick, much like a bread pudding, it can be sweetened and spiced to your liking.  Use it as a side dish or a different kind of dessert.  It is delicious with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey over the top.

Having a brother and two nephews who attended William and Mary, I have been lucky to receive Colonial Williamsburg’s magazine, Trend & Tradition. The cooks in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Foodways spend every day translating the food of Colonial America into recipes that can be recreated in a modern kitchen.

The recipe that follows is the 21st Century version from that magazine.  It has been adapted from the 18th Century, in Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery from 1796:

3 pints scaled milk, 7 spoons of fine Indian meal, stir together while hot, let stand till cooled; add 7 eggs, half pound of raisins, 4 ounces of butter, spice and sugar; bake one and a half hours.

In the 17th Century English colonists brought hasty pudding to North America and completely transformed it.  Initially made with wheat, they substituted cornmeal due to a shortage of grain.  American colonists called corn meal “Indian meal”, since they learned to cultivate it from the Indians.  Indian pudding is virtually unknown outside of New England, and it turns out November 13 is National Indian Pudding Day!  It is one of the country’s first truly American recipes.  It has a dark color and beautiful spices to give it that lovely fall flavor. It would make a great and unexpected side dish at your holiday meal.

Come in and try a sample from 11 am-12:30 pm at the Hanover store on Oct. 14 or the White River Jct. store on Oct. 21.

A Nice Indian Pudding
Makes 8 servings

1pint of milk (2 cups) or cream if you want it rich + 2 or 3 Tbs. cream
10 ounces (1 ¼ cups) cornmeal
3 ounces (6 Tbs.) raisins
3 ounces (6 Tbs.) sugar
1 ½ tsp. each (or less if you choose) ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
1 ½ ounces (3 Tbs.) melted butter
3 eggs

Heat milk over medium heat. Remove it from burner and slowly add the cornmeal, stirring it slowly with a whisk. Once blended return it to the burner and cook until fairly thick.  Remove from heat and add melted butter and spices then blend these altogether.  In a mixing bowl whisk eggs well, add the tablespoons of cream and whisk until incorporated with the eggs.  Whisk in the sugar and raisins.  Add the eggs to the cornmeal mixture and blend thoroughly with a spoon.  Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate.  Bake in a 360° oven for 30 minutes or more. Stick a knife blade in, and if it comes out clean it is done.  This is nice sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream before serving.

—Colonial Williamsburg Historic Foodways, 18th-century recipes for the 21st-century kitchen


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Ken Davis

Ken Davis is the Co-op's senior copywriter. Email him at