THE YANKEE CHEF: A pudding that would make ancestors proud

A dish of  5-minute True Old Fashioned Indian Pudding is shown.
A dish of 5-minute True Old Fashioned Indian Pudding is shown. PHOTO BY JIM BAILEY

The original Hasty Pudding, or Indian Pudding, is probably the very first dessert ever made on New England shores by our European ancestors. Don’t listen to other so called culinary historians when they note that Indian Pudding should be baked in order to be classic. This is entirely untrue! This New England dessert was made in a “great kettle” over the fire. Eggs were not wasted in this pudding originally, and are not needed now. When eggs are added, then Indian Pudding should be baked, creating a firmer textured preparation.

This recipe is perfectly spiced as our Yankee ancestors prepared, but with a little cranberry tartness added. By letting this hasty pudding chill in the refrigerator, the dried cranberries absorb the liquid, making them soft, tender and super flavorful.

5-minute True Old Fashioned Indian Pudding

INGREDIENTS

2 cups milk

½ cup dried cranberries or raisins

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2 tablespoons cinnamon

½ cup molasses

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/8 teaspoon dried ginger

½ cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon vanilla

Vanilla ice cream or heavy cream if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

Place first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Place over medium high heat, stirring once or twice to prevent milk from scorching.

Once milk mixture is scalding hot, and while constantly stirring with one hand, slowly pour the cornmeal into milk. Once added, reduce temperature to low and constantly stir for 2 minutes. It will thicken substantially.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot with vanilla ice cream melting over the top or cover and refrigerate until completely cold. Serve as is or with a dab of heavy cream over the top.

Makes about 3 servings or if your’e a Yankee.....1!

The Yankee Chef Jim Bailey is a third-generation chef, food columnist, cookbook author and food historian. Bailey lives in Maine with his wife and four children.