Indian Pudding Recipe and History

This year my daughter's fifth grade class put on a Thanksgiving meal for their parents and teachers. Each student picked a recipe and brought it home to make or help make.


At first I was a little irritated. My daughter chose, of all things, Indian pudding. Of course this dish is best served warm so that left me to cook it, and have it to the school in time. Now I am glad that I did! It was so good!

I will share a little bit of history, in part, but I can't tell you where the information was taken from as it was on a printout my daughter brought home with her recipe:

"Almost every happy memory the New England colonists had of their former life in England revolved around some festive occasion, one that was often celebrated with rich pudding.

During their early years in the New World, the colonists could only dream of the plum puddings of Old England. Even a simple milk pudding or bread pudding seemed out of the question because of the absence of wheat flour. But there was, of course, Indian cornmeal.


With the increase in the number of dairy cattle brought to Plymouth Colony from England during the late 1620's, milk and milk products became somewhat more plentiful and the Pilgrims could begin to approach the idea of an English-style milke pudding. Wheat flour was still scarce, of course, so they used cornmeal instead and called the new creamy, baked dessert "Indian" pudding, even though it contained such non-Indian ingredients as milk, eggs, butter, molasses for sweetening, and pinches of such exotic spices as cinnamon and ginger. Thick cream, when available, was poured over the pudding - another non-Indian and distinctly English touch.

The molasses that went into the New England Indian pudding was a special case, for it was neither British nor American Indian in origin. It was the product of Yankee business enterprise as expressed through the New England sea trade."


Indian Pudding

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbsp. cornmeal (I used yellow)
  • 1/2 cup molasses (I used dark)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • pinch of salt


Set oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.

Pour milk into a medium-large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat just until the milk is scalded (tiny bubbles will appear around the edge). Watch carefully so that milk does not boil.

Add cornmeal, one Tbsp. at a time, stirring after each addition to prevent lumps from forming. Add molasses and butter. Reduce heat under saucepan to low and cook mixture 10-15 mins., stirring frequently, until thickened. (My tip: You want it still pouring consistancy and not as thick as instant pudding.)

In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Slowly add hot cornmeal mixture to egg mixture, beating constantly with whisk. (I added a ladle-full at a time beating constantly so as not to cook the eggs with the hot mix)


Butter a one-quart casserole dish or other deep baking dish. Pour mix into casserole and bake at 300 degrees for 45 mins.

Serve Indian pudding warm. Heavy cream may be poured over top. Although not traditional, a scoop of vanilla ice cream is an especially good topping for a portion of Indian pudding. The kids at school used Cool Whip and it tasted so good!

Serves 4-6

Try something new! Enjoy!

Editor's Note: Edited and reposted from 11-24-2004

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By Jeremiah Nyarko (Guest Post)
October 8, 20080 found this helpful

The history information given here was very useful and boosted my history project grade up ten points. Thanks I really appreciate it!

November 1, 20080 found this helpful

Mark Zanger wrote The American History Cookbook and gives history here.


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