The first time I made Indian Pudding was for dessert last Thanksgiving. Because I am serving this pumpkin cheesecake, I decided not to make Indian Pudding again this year. But I love this dessert so much that I made it last week, and I’m sharing it with you now just in case you need another Thanksgiving dessert idea.

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If you are curious about the name of this dense and delicious treat, I did a little research and found out that recipes for the baked custard known as Indian Pudding go back several hundred years, but despite the name, it is not a traditional Native American dessert.

It was made by the American colonists, though: it’s a variation on British Hasty Pudding, but made with “local” American cornmeal (hence the name- cornmeal was once known as Indian meal).

My version, which incorporates baked silky sweet potatoes, is fairly simple. It is best when cooked at a low temperature for a long time…about 2 hours. It makes a great dessert for Thanksgiving, and it can be served with a little cream poured on top, or with a scoop of fresh whipped cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream. It is also wonderful plain, and I love it cold for (a decidedly somewhat decadent) breakfast.

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Recipe for Indian Pudding with Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
3 cups milk, preferably raw or organic
1/2 cup cornmeal
*2 tablespoons organic butter
*1/4 cup plus 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
*1/4 cup molasses
*1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
*3 eggs, preferably organic and free-range, at room temperature
*1/2 cup heavy cream, half and half, creme fraiche or sour cream, preferably organic

Directions:

1. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and wrap them in foil. Bake in a 400°F oven for 1.5 hours. Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before unwrapping and slicing in half. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

2. Scoop out the sweet potato flesh and place it in a blender with the milk. Blend until smooth.

3. In a heavy pan, heat the sweet potato and milk mixture over medium heat. Add the cornmeal, and, while you stir it with a whisk, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low-medium and continue to whisk as you cook for 5-10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat.

4. Add the butter, brown sugar, molasses, spices, and salt. Whisk to blend all the ingredients. Let the mixture cool slightly.

5. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs. Add about 1/2 cup of the warm cornmeal mixture to the eggs and beat again. Add the tempered eggs to the larger pot of the batter and whisk together to combine.

6. Add the 1/2 cup of cream, half and half, sour cream or creme fraiche and whisk again.

7. Pour the batter into a buttered baking dish and bake at 275°F for 2 hours. Serve warm, alone or with cream or whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream.

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More recipes for Indian Pudding:
Indian Pudding from Simply Recipes
Indian Pudding from Yankee Magazine
Durgin-Park Indian Pudding recipe from Roadfood.com

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu. WHB is managed by Haalo!

It was a pleasure to be the host for Weekend Herb Blogging this week.

whb-210-150x150Weekend Herb Blogging is a weekly group blogging event that was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. WHB is a great way to share recipes about herbs, vegetables, fruits and other plant ingredients. WHB is currently managed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once, and next week’s host will be Lynne from Cafe Lynnylu.

I loved getting so many great submissions from around the globe…thanks to everyone for participating! Here is the recipe roundup for weekend herb blogging 210…

We begin with Laurie, who hails from Anchorage, Alaska. She blogs at Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska and featured kale in this lovely Recipe for Kale Puttanesca. Make sure to read her analysis of artisanal vs. “regular” pasta (she recommends artisanal for this dish).

e-Kale-Puttanesca

Tigerfish from California runs the blog Teczcape- An Escape To Food and also cooked with kale in a recipe for Chinese-Style Kale Stir-Fry with Garlic. So vibrant…looks delicious!

kalestirfry

Marillyn Beard (Costa Rica) of the blog Just Making Noise used beets to make a simple yet gorgeous Classic Beet Soup. So lovely!

beetsoup

Sugar Plum Fairy of the brand new blog Vanilla Strawberry Fields used rosemary to make Herbed Chicken and Squid. Sugar Plum Fairy resides in Goa, India…welcome!

rosemarychicken

Kalyn from Kalyn’s Kitchen used persimmons for the first time in this Whole Wheat Couscous Salad with Persimmons, Grapes, Green Onions, Mint, and Pine Nuts. Wow, what a combination…

couscous-salad-400x400-kalynskitchen

Nate from House of Annie used yams to make these luscious looking honey glazed yams. Nate resides in Sarawak, Malaysia!

yams

WHB First timer Yeoh Cheng Huann from the blog Eat.Read.Live in Singapore sent in this extremely intriguing way to use avocado: an Avocado Shake. Welcome to Weekend Herb Blogging!

whb_avocado

Katie from Haslett, Michigan blogs at Eat This and sent us this timely recipe
using cranberries. You can see her beautiful Cranberry Chutney Recipe here.

cranberrychutney

Janet/Saveur from Tastespace (Toronto, Canada) also cooked with cranberries; she used them in these incredibly yummy-looking Cranberry Orange Scones.

cranberryorangescones

Anna from Morsels & Musings in Sydney, Australia features
parsley in this delectable recipe for Braciole Napoletana. Mmmm…

braciolenapoleone

Mangocheeks from Alottment 2 Kitchen (Scotland) used home grown chives to make great looking Chive Potato Balls.

chiveballs

Cinzia of Cindystar (Lake Garda, Italy) used almonds and pistachios in these gorgeous Almond and Pistachio Biscotti.

mandorleepistacchi

The Chocolate Lady of In Mol Araan (NYC) harvested gingko nuts (from in front of her building!) to make these luscious Collard Green with Spices and Gingko Nuts.

ginkgo+nuts+with+collards

Our illustrious weekend herb blogging manager Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once took unbelievable photos of/cooked with peaches in these divine Poached Donut Peaches.

Hallopiccopy

And finally, I used parsnips to make a great fall/winter Parsnip and Apple Soup!

parsnipsoup400

Do you love pumpkin? Do you love cheesecake? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you should seriously consider making this pumpkin cheesecake.

I happen to love pumpkin cheesecake. It’s up there with my favorite desserts of all time, and it makes a great Thanksgiving dessert. I have made a pumpkin yogurt cheesecake recipe before, and loved it, but when Agnes Devereux agreed to share her recipe, I couldn’t contain my happiness. You see, I’ve admired The Village Tearoom’s pumpkin cheesecake from afar for several years now (yes, I stare at it in the dessert case each fall whenever I’m in the restaurant), but I’ve never had the pleasure of eating it.

In the interest of full disclosure, the pumpkin cheesecake in the photos was not made by me. I did make the recipe, but then last minute decided to freeze mine so we can have it as one of our Thanksgiving desserts (I froze the cheesecake in the crust and plan to add the topping and caramel sauce on Thanksgiving Day). So I popped into the restaurant (a definite benefit of living only 10 minutes away) and bought the slice you see here for the photos. Then I ate it. So I know it’s good!

It’s not just good, though. It’s great. It’s the best pumpkin cheesecake I’ve tasted by far. Try it and I am sure you’ll agree!

Recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl

This fantastic recipe is courtesy of Agnes Devereux of The Village TeaRoom, Restaurant and Bake Shop in New Paltz, NY.. It make two cheesecakes (cut the recipe in half if you only want to make one)
You'll need two 8” spring form pans, wrapped in heavy duty tinfoil

Ingredients:

*3 cups ground gingersnap cookies
*1 cup toasted pecans
*1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*5.5 oz. unsalted butter, melted
*3 lbs cream cheese, preferably organic, at room temperature
*17.5 oz. sugar, preferably organic
*1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
*2 1/4 cups fresh pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
*6 tablespoons whipping cream, preferably organic
*1 ½ teaspoon ground allspice
*6 large eggs, preferably organic and free-range
*2 cups sugar, preferably organic
*2 tablespoons corn syrup (I used agave syrup instead)
*½ cup water
*1 cup heavy cream, preferably organic
*2 oz. butter, preferably organic
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind ground cookies, pecans and sugar in processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture onto bottom and up sides of 8” springform pans.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Transfer 1 ½ cups mixture to small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use for topping.

3. Add pumpkin, 6 tablespoons whipping cream, ground cinnamon and ground allspice to mixture in large bowl and beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined.

4. Pour filling into crust (filling will almost fill pan). Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

5. Heat sugar, water and syrup in a heavy bottomed pan, whisking constantly. When the syrup is clear, turn heat up and bring to a boil. Cook, continuing to stir, until amber colored/380°F (it will be very very hot...please be careful handling the hot pan). Remove from heat and pour in the cream (be careful when you do this, because it will bubble up). Stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside to cool and use on top of the cheesecake.

6. Add heavy cream to refrigerated cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture over cheesecake evenly. Drizzle caramel sauce in concentric circles over cream cheese mixture. Using tip of knife, swirl caramel sauce into a spider web-like pattern. Enjoy.