Indulge in Indian Pudding, a Naturally Gluten-Free, Nut-Free Dessert
I love pudding. I know it’s not the most popular of all the dessert options, but for me knowing that most puddings are naturally gluten-free and nut-free, it’s usually a safe option for me. Did you know that February 17th is National Indian Pudding Day? If so, happy National Indian Pudding day! If not, prepare to be introduced to a delicious, easy, historic treat. Saveur Magazine offers historical background on this unique dessert.
Historians trace this uniquely American dessert as far back as the 17th century. It most likely descended from England’s hasty pudding, a sweetened stove-top porridge made by stirring boiling milk or water with wheat flour. Indian pudding, however, uses cornmeal, which was abundant to early settlers in New England, while wheat was not. (“Indian meal” was what settlers called cornmeal.) Molasses, meanwhile, which was being produced in massive amounts to produce rum, was a readily available, inexpensive sweetener during Boston’s rum trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. And unlike its British predecessor, Indian pudding is baked for a long time at a low temperature, a reflection of the hearth that was central to the early New England kitchen, which radiated heat for hours after the weekly baking was done. The pudding would have sat in that ambient warmth until it set. A uniquely new-world dish was born.
Cornmeal, molasses, cinnamon, and ginger? Delicious!Â Here are a few of my favorite recipes which are incredibly easy to make. Please note that most of the recipes call for vanilla ice cream to offset the sweetness, if you’re going dairy-free I highly recommend a scoop of So Delicious coconut milk ice cream.
Traditional Indian Pudding Recipe from Real Simple: This rustic recipe is spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and is baked in the oven for a firmer consistency. Get the recipe here.
Indian Pudding Recipe from Food & Wine: While Indian Pudding can sometimes be too thick and heavy, this recipe creates a softer, lighter version of the historic dessert. Get the recipe here.
Slow Cooker Indian Pudding from About Food: This classic cornmeal Indian Pudding recipe is cooked for 6-8 hours in the slow cooker, giving the flavors a chance to deepen. Get the recipe here.
Indian Pumpkin Pudding from The New York Times: With a spin on the traditional recipe, pumpkin is added which makes it resemble pumpkin pie without the crust. Raisins can also be mixed in for additional texture. Get the recipe here.
Butternut Squash Indian Pudding from Vegetarian Times: The traditional pudding recipe is given a makeover by adding butternut squash. Get the recipe here.