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Indian Pudding

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Hi all,
I'm writing a story for Saveur Magazine on Indian Pudding. What are the best places to get it in Boston? Is Durgin Park still considered the gold standard?
Also, do you like Indian Pudding? If so, why? If not, why not (e.g., the color, the texture, etc.).
What's the reaction of people from outside New England to Indian Pudding.
Is it a family tradition for you and do you make it at home or have a special place to eat it?
Why has Indian Pudding not become popular in the rest of the country?
Thanks so much.
Laura Weiss

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Durgin Park
1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

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  1. Haven't thought about Indian pudding in years. If Durgin Park is the gold standard, I can't help but wonder if it's because it's one of the few places that have it on the menu. They also have coffee jello, but that's getting off track. I love my pudding to be very firm, none of that soupy stuff. It should have a bit of a grainy texture, served warm with vanilla ice cream melting all over it.

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    Durgin Park
    1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

    1. I remember an old Julia Child episode where she had made Indian Pudding in some kind of earthenware crock/bowl and IIRC, it took 6 hours of slow baking in the oven; could have something to do with it!

      1. Which of us.. prepares anything (outside of BBQ) which cooks for hours, unless it's Thanksgiving? Having said that, I remember it being cooked in a coffee can by my grandmother, who was originally from central Maine....

        2 Replies
        1. re: okra

          Well... I do, all the time. I did screw up Indian pudding royally, though. Agree with various other posters that a nice twist on the topic would be to feature the Indian pudding ice cream.

          1. re: djd

            Me too; I hardly feel like I'm cooking if it doesn't take a few hours! Anyway, re Indian pudding ice cream, the Ice Cream Smith in Dorchester had Indian pudding ice cream in september but I think they've traded out that flavor for pumpkin; I sampled the indian pudding flavor and it was good, but I can't say I'd want a whole serving - too monotonous. I agree with Alcachofa that it's the contrast between the indian pudding and the ice cream that really makes the dish work.

        2. I LOVE Indian Pudding and yes, Durgin Park is about the only place left where you can get it. A few years ago JP Licks had Indian Pudding ice cream in Oct./Nov. and it was fantastic, but they haven't had it again in the last few years. I love the taste and the texture and, while I do like it with vanilla ice cream, I'm just as happy to eat it plain. I imagine that it hasn't become popular elsewhere because it takes so long to make.

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          Durgin Park
          1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

          1. I love the Indian pudding at Locke Ober

            I love making too. Often, my favorite experience of my year is a snow-bound day: get the wood stove going, roast a chicken and make Indian pudding.

            1 Reply
            1. re: twisty cup

              YUMMY

            2. I grew up in NY and only vaguely heard of Indian Pudding before coming here -- it's hard to find in restaurants in the area, let alone in other areas of the country, which is why I think it's not popular. It also takes several hours to make, so people might not want to invest that much time in an unfamiliar dish. I've tried a canned version but found it pretty disgusting, with a metallic taste.

              Personally, I love the Indian Pudding at a local red sauce Italian place, Verona in Watertown, but maybe because I first had it there.

              1. Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Sudbury has Indian pudding on their menu. Given the historical significance of the building, it's a place I would like to go and enjoy this pudding.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Pegmeister

                  I had it there years ago - my vague recollection is that it was great.

                2. Also on the menu at the Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge, MA

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                  Publick House Historic Inn
                  277 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: phonelady

                    It's really amazing at the PH, unlike almost everything else there.

                  2. While I am not a Massachusetts native, I have spent most of my life here. I never had Indian Pudding before coming here but one time was enough to convince me that it is prime example of comfort food.

                    Why is Indian Pudding hard to find here and just about impossible to find outside of New England? It is a lot of work to make AND you serve it warm. Bake a cake or a pie and you can serve it later, even over the course of several days (assuming it does not get eaten first). Think about it. Most desserts are made in advance and served cold or at room temperature. Not Indian Pudding. It is not something you could buy in a store (or even make at home) for future impulse consumption. So, unless someone serves it to you, chances are you have never tried it and are unlikely to take the trouble to cook it yourself. Plus, it is a homely dish, not what you would make for guests you want to impress. Can you imagine a fine-dining presentation of Indian Pudding? It would truly miss the point!

                    I wonder if it is still served at the Hasty Pudding Club. Anybody know?

                    1. Durgin Park is good.

                      Locke-Ober is better.

                      Indian Pudding needs ice cream to work. I.P. is actually the dessert that got me into having anything à la Mode. Before my first I.P. experience, I did not like ice cream on my desserts. So, when I began eating my first I.P., I just focused on the pudding part, not the ice cream in the middle. It was OK, but I wasn't digging it.

                      Then I had a taste with both the pudding and ice cream mixed together AND IT WAS A REVELATION.

                      Now, I put ice cream on dessert whenever possible. Not sure if this is a good thing or not.

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                      Locke-Ober
                      3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

                      1. Just a quick note that our regional boards are focused on where to find great chow in a given region. If you've got a suggestion on where Laura can find good Indian pudding in the Boston area, please do share it. General discussion of Indian pudding would belong on the General Topics board.

                        1. Jasper White's Summer Shack restaurants serve Indian Pudding with softserve ice cream (at least, the Cambridge location does). Haven't had it there, though I've been tempted many times; in fact I have only had it made at home. I'm from the Boston area, but it was not a family tradition for us; my sister was supposed to make some type of colonial food for a school project in elementary or middle school and that's what research turned up. My mom helped her make it; we all thought it looked disgusting and tasted delicious. Just a casual observance but I find that New Englanders are more appreciative of molasses than people from other parts of the country.

                          I did recently have Indian Pudding ice cream at Beal's in Gorham, Maine. It's a seasonal flavor only, I believe. My wife, who has a culinary degree and used to work as a chef in Boston (in other words, is fairly knowledgeable about food), had never heard of Indian Pudding until I ordered the ice cream. She's from New Jersey.

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                          Summer Shack
                          310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                          1. I would suggest the Summer Shack. They do a very good version that I always have whenever I go there. It is served with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

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                            Summer Shack
                            310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                            1. A little bit further south, but the Milepost in Duxbury always has it on the menu.

                              1. The Colonial Inn in Concord has decent Indian Pudding. I like it, don't love it. But my husband who loves it and makes it really likes it there.

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                                Colonial Inn
                                48 Monument Sq # 2, Concord, MA

                                1. I love Indian Pudding. I remember the first time I had it at Durgin Park many years ago. I've tried making it at home many times without much success. It always comes out dry and kinda nasty. I've tried every recipe I can find.

                                  Now that I'm thinking of it, I might need to make a trip to Durgin Park.

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                                  Durgin Park
                                  1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                  1. Meletharb, a very good ice cream place in Wakefield, MA, had Indian Pudding Ice Cream on the menu last week. I'm kicking myself for not trying it.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: bear

                                      I love indian pudding also, I think it is the molasses and corn with a scoup of vanilla scream mmm, I haven't made it in years but it's pretty easy if you use a crock pot and give a couple of stirs everyonce in a while, it does make me think of fall.

                                      1. re: bear

                                        I forgot to say that I grew up eating Indian Pudding, but mostly the canned version. I make it occasionally, and one of my adult sons loves it. As everyone says, good vanilla ice cream is a must.

                                      2. We have a family story surrounding Indian Pudding in Boston. The claim was that my older brother loved it. I don't really know how this came to be, but was known as a Family Fact. At the rehearsal dinner before my brother's wedding (now 22? years ago), at the Alqonquin Club here in Boston, my dad thought it would be hilarious to sub a dish of Indian Pudding for my brother's dessert. So while we were all served some concoction of cake and cream or somesuch, my brother received, with some fanfare, this drab little dish of Indian Pudding. I don't think he found it quite as funny as our dad did.

                                        You'd probably still find it at some private clubs, but I can say that no one in our family has ordered it at the AC for years.

                                        Grape Nuts Pudding seems to be a thing around here, now.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                          Anthony's Pier 4 surprsingly has excellent Indian Pudding. I have had it at both Locke Ober and Durgin Park and it is on the same par.

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                                          Durgin Park
                                          1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                          Anthony's Pier 4 Restaurant
                                          140 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                        2. I haven't had it, but I have heard that Locke Ober has a good one. But, if you are checking them out I think you have to try Durgin Park's, too, as Durgin Park is the grandaddy of old Boston restaurants and food. I have made it at home, but not for a long time. I do really like Indian Pudding, but you really need a little vanilla ice cream to put on it. Weather is getting cooler now, I'm going to have to make it again soon. I subscribe to Saveur. Looking forward to seeing the story.

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                                          Durgin Park
                                          1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: pemma

                                            As there seems to be 2 threads running here on the same subject (one moved inexplicably from the southern NE board) I'll add this comment to this thread as well.

                                            My brother was the chef for several years in the 70s at The Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard and of course, he had to make literally gallons of the stuff on a nightly basis. I loved it with vanilla ice cream, but needless to say, he can no longer stand the stuff! The recipe he used was over 300 years old if I recall. Perhaps if you contacted the club about your article, they would let you in for a taste? After all, where better to have Hasty (Indian) Pudding than the Hasty Pudding Club?

                                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                              Great idea. I've had it at the Harvard Club. Is there a way to get in touch with your brother?

                                              1. re: lauraww

                                                If you are comfortable with posting an email address I'll be sure to forward it to him.

                                          2. The best Indian Pudding i have ever had was at Paul and Elizabeths in Northampton MA..Durgin park yuck...

                                            1. The Ansel Gurney House in Marion has a very good version.

                                              The general reaction to Indian Pudding from outsiders is that it is weird, not appetizing, and upon tasting it....delicious. Whoever mentioned the molasses might have a point as Brown Bread is another New England only specialty and has a strong molasses profile.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: joth68

                                                had a bunch of people here from Texas (they wanted to know how we made "all the buildings look so old " when we were walking around QM). One of them had been told he had to go to Durgin Park, so being a good hostess, I took them there. There was no question they were from out of town, which allowed our waitress to give them a very hard time. As her "peace offering" she brought some Indian Pudding for everyone to share. There was some poking at it, and finally one of the Texans took a bite. He immediately spit it out and demanded to know "if it was food". FTR, it was pretty good, they were just clueless.

                                                1. re: Bivalve

                                                  He really spit it out? How rude! I hope that fellow was better behaved during the rest of his visit.

                                              2. Thank you all for this great discussion about Indian Pudding. FYI, I made my first one from the NY Times cookbook. Would Pia, PinchofSalt, Cape Cod Guy and Bivalve please email me at laurasbweiss@gmail.com?
                                                Thanks!

                                                1. My family has been making Indian Pudding forever, (we have lived in Massachusetts since the Pilgrims although our recipe isn't that old <g>). Our recipe is my great great grandmother's, if not older. It is very simple, cornmeal, milk, molasses, sugar and butter. I love it but would never get it in a restaurant, they muck it up with all sorts of strange ingredients like cinnamon and suchlike. And it is actually very easy to make, although it takes time.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: bvfrenchknitter

                                                    Mory's in Ne Haven has a good Indian Pudding. Maybe this is as far "south" as IP actually available in the US........

                                                    Found this thread because I'm making it for Thanksgiving dessert and was curious what was out there.

                                                    1. re: elmcitycook

                                                      fair warning- make it IN ADVANCE. Years ago I tried a durgin park recipe for it and it took FOREVER to cook/bake; muuuuch longer than the recipe said. It reheats well, but you prob know that. And don't forget your vanilla ice cream with it!

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        Yup I just made some last week, do all the heating stuff on the stove and pour it in to a crock pot and let it cook for 5-7 hours like the original recipe calls for, I think it didn't even thicken for 3 hours, happy Thanksgiving