This recipe was shared with me by Mary Wright Huber of Tucson, AZ (formerly of CT and MA). Mary says:
“Below you will find my family’s version of Indian Pudding. It is based on an old 1896 Boston Cooking School recipe, which was run by Fannie [Merritt] Farmer. There are many variations of this recipe, some with no spices and some with raisins. One or two even include pumpkin. Although I prefer lots of spices (I am fairly flexible on that issue), and can even see the pumpkin people’s point of view. But I am adamantly anti-raisin! I also think it is a travesty to cook the pudding for less time, at a higher temperature. Many of the newer recipes do this, and I can’t see how one can get the same fine-grained custardy texture. I also think the higher temperatures are likely to form a thick, coagulated layer over the top of the dessert. This recipe takes times and patience, but the reward is great (taste). It not only makes a great dessert (with ice cream), but I have been known to eat it re-heated; with half and half; for breakfast.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Lightly grease a 6- or 8-cup soufflor baking dish with butter (you can use margarine, but DON’T use non-stick sprays).
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, scald the milk.
While the milk is heating, pour the cream into a medium to large bowl, add the cornmeal, sugar, molasses, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Add this cream/corn meal/spice mixture to the scalded milk. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat until the pudding has thickened to the consistency of syrup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
In a bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Temper the eggs by adding 1/2 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs while whisking rapidly. Vigorously whisk the egg mixture into the remaining cornmeal mixture. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring until melted.
Pour mixture into the prepared souffldish, and place dish on a shallow baking pan on the center oven rack. Pour enough HOT water into the shallow baking dish to come 2/3 of the way up the outsides of the soufflor baking dish.
Bake until pudding is set, a tester inserted close to (but not in) the center comes out clean, usually about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and remove from the water bath and let cool slightly.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or heavy cream.
Makes 8 to 16 servings (depending on your sweet tooth).