Indian Pudding, one of the finest desserts ever invented, is a naturally gluten-free American dessert over two centuries old. The recipes vary over the years, but the ingredients always include milk, corn meal (the “Indian meal” from which the dessert gets its name), spices and some type of sweetener. Note that once in a while a recipe for Indian Pudding will include a small amount of completely unnecessary wheat flour. At gfzing.com, we have studied the subject at length and have 2 recommended recipes for excellent gluten free Indian Pudding – one sweetened primarily with maple syrup and one made primarily with brown sugar. Our favorite recipes appear near the end of this article, after some historical bits.
In American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, published in 1796, there are 3 recipes for Indian Pudding. The two baked versions include eggs, which later recipes for the dessert often omit.
- No. 1. 3 pints scalded milk, 7 spoons fine Indian meal, stir well
together while hot, let stand till cooled; add 7 eggs, half pound
raisins, 4 ounces butter, spice and sugar, bake one and half hours.
- No. 2. 3 pints scalded milk to one pint meal salted; cool, add 2 eggs,
4 ounces butter, sugar or molasses and spice q. f. it will require two
and half hours baking.
- No. 3. Salt a pint meal, wet with one quart milk, sweeten and put into
a strong cloth, brass or bell metal vessel, stone or earthern pot,
secure from wet and boil 12 hours.
Table Talk monthly magazine, which billed itself as the “The American Authority Upon All Culinary and Household Topics,” included in its September 1893 issue ten recipes for Indian Pudding (go to page 323 in this document). Some of these recipes omit the eggs, and some use the technique of mixing the hot porridge-like base for the pudding and then pouring an amount of cold milk on top, leaving the cold milk without stirring, then baking the whole dish for from 2 to 8 hours.
Now for how we actually prefer to make Indian Pudding. We like the following 2 recipes, with a preference for the one sweetened primarily with maple syrup which has a more interesting flavor than modern brown sugar. We actually wonder if the antique recipes used a form of brown sugar more similar to jaggery, rapadura or panela – which would have had a more subtle flavor.
Maple Syrup Cookbook
by Ken Haedrich, 1989
(our preferred ingredient list)
|Early American Recipes by Eloise Frost, 1953|
|Whole Milk||5 cups||1 quart (4 cups), scalded + 1 cup cold|
|Corn Meal||2/3 cup||½ cup|
|Sugar||1 cup grade A Amber Maple Syrup (or Grade B)||1/3 cup light brown sugar|
|Molasses||1 TB (we used 2)||1/3 cup|
|Ground Cinnamon||½ teaspoon||1 teaspoon|
|Ground Ginger||½ teaspoon||1 teaspoon|
|Dried Fruit||1 cup raisins or chopped dated (we used raisins)||none|
|Salt||½ teaspoon||1 teaspoon|
|Butter||4 tablespoons||3 tablespoons|
Both recipes are baked in a well-buttered 9 x13″ baking dish at 300 F; a porcelain, ceramic or Pyrex dish is necessary for the baking; for the clean-up be prepared to soak the cooking and baking dishes before cleaning. The basic cooking method is as follows.
For the maple syrup recipe, in a heavy-bottomed pot, cook the milk over medium heat until it is almost scalded, then whisk in the cornmeal, stirring all the while. Keep whisking for 10 minutes until the porridge is thickened slightly. The porridge will be a very, very pale yellow. Remove from the heat and use a wooden or bamboo spoon to stir in the rest of the ingredients, stirring all the while. Give one last vigorous stir to distribute the raisins evenly and pour it in to the prepared porcelain (or Pyrex or ceramic) dish. Bake for 2 and a half hours. Remove from the oven, let cool for about a half hour and serve with vanilla ice cream or plain cream.
For the brown sugar recipe: Mix the scalded milk, molasses and brown sugar. Whisk in the corn meal, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Pour in to the prepared baking dish and dot with the butter. Bake 1 hour, then pour the cup of cold milk over the top (do not stir) and cook for 2 more hours. Remove from the oven, let cool for about a half hour and serve with vanilla ice cream or plain cream.
We hope you enjoy this review of Indian Pudding through the ages, from gfzing.com. Indian Pudding is the best dessert ever, and deserves to return to its rightful place as a mainstay of American cooking!