You’ve Got Your Traditions and I’ve Got Mine

When first semester finals start at the University of Virginia, the 24-hour non-stop screenings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” begin–balm to test-weary students.

The grandmother of a former roommate used to make all the kids coffee cans of Chex mix every year for Christmas.

And we make Indian Pudding, so here it is–the annual re-run of my immediate family’s favorite. (The other Greek- and Italian-Americans remain bemused.)

Thanksgiving Dessert for Crust-phobes

the authentic recipe, since before your grandfather was born

For those cooks who can’t manage a home-made pie crust, even with the encouragement of King Arthur, there is a delicious, easy, and traditional alternative–Indian Pudding.

Named for the cornmeal that English settlers found native-Americans using, an Indian pudding combines a new world ingredient with an old world cooking style.

It also an intriguing dessert–hot dark pudding against cold vanilla ice cream–it’s Zen on a plate. The earthy mix of molasses, milk, and cornmeal is a surprisingly sophisticated flavor and far cry from insipid sweet goo of supermarket apple pie.

This version is scaled down from the massive quantities steamed up at Durgin Park, but  best of all–no pie crust required!

Indian Pudding at Home

4 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, vanilla ice cream

  • Scald two cups of the milk in an 8-inch skillet and slowly pour in the cornmeal, stirring to break up the lumps. Simmer over low heat until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside until it’s warm.
  • Stir in the molasses, sugar, salt, egg, and one half cup of the remaining milk. Cover the skillet and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring in a half cup of milk every half hour. The pudding should be thick but no solid.
  • Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I know it looks scary–but try it–it’s delicious!

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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