Indian Pudding

Indian Pudding

November 13: National Indian Pudding Day

Indians and pilgrims are a popular theme for Thanksgiving. From hostility to hospitality, they set aside their differences to share the bounties of their harvest together. Peace and prosperity are possible when people focus on the positive and strive toward the common good.

Indian pudding was on the menu at early Thanksgiving celebrations in New England. Derived from the English hasty pudding (porridge), this version uses what the North American settlers called “Indian mush” (corn meal). The cooking method is not hasty at all—slow stirring and baking are required to make this dessert.

Prepare Indian pudding on National Indian Pudding Day. And when hosting a harvest meal, try adding this traditional treat to your table for Thanksgiving.

Recipe

(Adapted from Months of Edible Celebrations)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • 3 cups milk, divided use (2 cups hot, 1 cup cold)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • whipped cream and ground nutmeg (optional garnish)

Directions

In a pot over low heat, boil two cups of milk, being careful not to burn the bottom. When hot, gradually add in the corn meal. Stir constantly and slowly for about 15 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon.

Indian Pudding

Stir the spices into the corn meal mixture. Add molasses and the remaining cup of cold milk. Combine well. Pour into a casserole dish.

Indian Pudding

Bake in a preheated oven at 275 degrees F for two hours. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and serve in pudding cups or dessert dishes. Garnish with whipped cream and ground nutmeg, if desired.

Indian Pudding

Notes

  • Thanks to RB, who is part-Cherokee from Oklahoma, for the Native American shawl used as a prop for the main photo. He presented it to Islander as an appreciation gift for being his first communion sponsor many years ago.

Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla Pudding

May 22: National Vanilla Pudding Day

Our moms used to put pudding snack packs in our lunchboxes for a sweet school time treat. Sometimes, like us, they would also prepare pudding from a mix for a quick after-dinner dessert. But now we prefer pudding from scratch as it tastes so much better! And it is just as quick and easy to make as the Jell-O boxed brand. Below is a recipe for a basic vanilla pudding that is thickened with cornstarch instead of eggs. Try this tasty homemade version for a very good vanilla pudding on National Vanilla Pudding Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from The New York Times)

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half, divided use
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract/flavoring

Directions

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of half-and-half with the sugar and salt. Simmer over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan. In a measuring cup or bowl, stir in the cornstarch with the remaining ½ cup of half-and-half and mix well to remove any lumps. Pour this into the main liquid mixture. Stir well until thickened. Remove from heat.

Vanilla Pudding

Add the butter, if using, and stir until melted. Mix in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into dessert cups or ramekins. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream and/or berries, if desired.

Vanilla Pudding

Notes

  • Place plastic film/wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent the formation of a “skin” on top (optional).
  • Turn vanilla into chocolate pudding by adding 2 ounces (2 squares of Baker’s brand) of finely chopped bitterweet or unsweetened chocolate to the recipe after adding the butter. The chocolate may also be melted before stirring it into the vanilla mixture.
  • Or try the Mexican version of chocolate pudding. See our blog recipe post for pudín de chocolate for National Chocolate Pudding Day on June 26.

Chocolate Custard Cups

Chocolate Custard Cups

May 3: National Chocolate Custard Day

Whenever we make meringues or macarons, we also cook custard (crème brulee or flan) using the leftover egg yolks. Instead of one large portion, we sometimes bake a chocolate-flavored custard in cups (ramekins) for individual servings and simply swirl whipped cream on top. Its thick, creamy pudding-like texture and rich chocolatey taste make this dessert a delightful indulgence during the month of May, which is National Chocolate Custard Month, and today, which is National Chocolate Custard Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces (3 squares) semi sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand), melted
  • 1 ½ cups half-and-half (half cream and half milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • boiling water
  • whipped cream (optional garnish)

Directions

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until light. Melt the chocolate until smooth. Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture.

Chocolate Custard Cups

In a saucepan, combine the half-and-half with the vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour into the chocolate mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling the eggs. Strain the mixture into a measuring cup.

Chocolate Custard Cups

Pour the mixture into individual custard cups or ramekins. Place the cups in a baking dish. Pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the cups to make a water bath. Loosely cover with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Remove the cups from the baking dish. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack. Continue chilling in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Top with whipped cream (optional).

Chocolate Custard Cups

Notes 

  • Search our blog for similar chocolate pudding or custard recipes.