Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Slow Holiday Food

You know I fiddle with the menu up to and including the holiday cooking itself.  And today I'm thinking of so-called Indian Pudding.  You know, cornmeal mush with molasses and spices, sometimes served over ice cream.  The very first time I had it was at the now-defunct Silvermine Tavern in Norwalk, with either Gommie or Lambeth.  It's a Yankee dessert, never on Texas menus, and I was game to try.  Mushy sweet goodness.  I've had other versions since then and like most of them, from Plimoth to Boston (both Durgin Park and Union Oyster House) and even my own kitchen (we made Pumpkin Indian Pudding once.)  And so I'm returning to the idea, without really wanting to complicate my menu . . . . voilà, slow cooker!!  (And I came across a more genuine recipe--from Durgin Park--baking for 5-7 hours!  Wonder if I could do that in a slow cooker?!)  Maybe I'll make it as a pre-holiday treat this weekend.

Slow Cooker "Indian Pudding"
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing cooker
2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Garnish: ice cream, whipped cream, or light cream
Grease the inside of your slow cooker with butter and preheat on high 15 minutes.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together milk, cornmeal, and salt, and bring to a boil. Continue whisking another 5 minutes; then cover and simmer on low 10 minutes. Remove from the burner and add butter.

In a medium-size bowl, combine eggs, molasses, and spices. Add some of the hot cornmeal mixture to the egg mixture to temper the eggs; then transfer egg mixture into the pot. Stir in cranberries, if you like.

Scrape batter into the slow cooker and cook on high 2 to 3 hours or on low 6 to 8 hours. The center will be not quite set.

Serve warm topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or light cream.

Durgin Park Indian Pudding
3 cups milk
1/4 cup black molasses
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Mix together 1-1/2 cups of the milk with the molasses, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, egg, and cornmeal. Pour the mixture into a stone crock that has been well greased and bake until it boils.
Heat the remaining 1-1/2 cups of milk and stir it in.
Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 5-7 hours.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

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