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