Wednesday, July 7, 2010

John and Abigail Adams Indian Pudding

When John Adams moved into the President’s House in the new federal city of Washington D.C. it was in a state of disarray, much to his and his wife Abigail’s great frustration and dismay. Nevertheless, they immediately began making plans for the first presidential “levee” to be held on New Year’s Day.

As you can imagine, the celebration was quite grand. Cookies, custards, and cakes, all baked in the new hearths on either side of the enormous kitchen fireplace, were served, along with all kinds of puddings, pastries, trifles, and tarts. Borrowing court etiquette from European kings and queens she had seen while John was U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, Abigail regally greeted guests from a throne-like chair. Standing proudly beside her was her husband, wearing velvet breeches and lace with fashionably powdered hair.

Although that reception was a lavish affair, John Adams actually preferred plainer fare, and a few of his favorite foods, which can be traced to his New England roots, include Green Turtle Soup, Indian Pudding, and Gooseberry Fool.

If you would like to make some Indian Pudding, this recipe, adapted from, is relatively easy to prepare and is simply delicious!

6 cups of milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Scald the milk and butter in a large double boiler or heat the milk and butter for about 5 minutes on high heat in the microwave until it is boiling, then carefully transfer it to a medium saucepan on the stove. Keep hot over medium heat.

Preheat oven to 250°F. In a medium bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, and salt, then stir in molasses. Thin the mixture with 1/2 cup of scalded milk, a few tablespoons at a time, then gradually add the mixture back to into the scalded milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Slowly add a half cup of the hot milk cornmeal mixture to the 3 beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Then add the egg mixture back in with the cornmeal mixture and stir to combine.

Stir in the sugar and spices until smooth. Pour into a 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dish. Bake for 2 hours at 250°F. Let cool for about an hour, then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!