One of our most cherished and controversial- some love it, others hate it- family recipes is Indian Pudding. Bring the subject up at any family gathering and you are sure to get plenty of opinions. My dad's mother passed along this family recipe to my mother nearly 70 years ago, and she made it every Thanksgiving for the next 40 years. When I married, my mother passed along the recipe to me, and now I have been making it for the past 25 years. Mimi Jr. has learned to make it, so someday she will become the keeper of the tradition. My grandmother would be pleased that this recipe can still be found on our Thanksgiving table so many years later and with many more years to come.
It's not to pretty to look at, but as we all know, looks can be deceiving. Made with corn meal, milk, molasses, raisins and dates, it is a thick, rich pudding that needs just a little whipped cream to mellow all of that natural sweetness. It is pretty rich so just a small bowl is very satisfying. Even after all the turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin pie, the Indian Pudding lovers in my family can always find room for this once-a-year treat.
Grammie Small's Indian Pudding
1 1/2 quarts milk
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg or ginger
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins or 1 cup chopped dates, or a combination (I use 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup dates)
1 can evaporated milk- not always necessary, but I always have one on hand just in case.
Put milk in medium sauce pan turn heat to low and whisk in the cornmeal. Add remaining ingredients stirring to combine. Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is thick. Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 2 hours. Check once or twice, and if it becomes to thick or dry, add canned milk on top during the baking. Do not stir. The pudding should be very soft. It can be made ahead, but rehaet before serving. It is best topped with slightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.