Indian pudding questions
Hello chowhounds! So, I am visiting my parents and doing a lot of cooking for them and my mom has requested that I Indian pudding. I've never made it but it's her favorite and so I would like to be able to grant this wish. Thing is, there is huge variation among the recipes. Some call for eggs, some don't (and always a different number of eggs). I'm leaning towards making a recipe with eggs, because my mom has said that the one time she tried making it, it didn't set properly (although my mom is also not a great cook, so I have to take that with a grain of salt but even so...). Does anyone have any views on eggs vs. no eggs? Also, the cooking times are wildly different--some call for 2 hours or even less, some for 5-7 hours! (The shorter cooking times are, not suprisingly, for the ones that have a lot of egg in them.) Does anyone have any insight into the secrets of a good Indian pudding? Please share and help me make my mom happy!
This version is started on the stove and baked in the oven for 1.5 hours. If you like cornmeal and molasses this recipe is a really nice Indian pudding. It's a simple ingredient list and easy on the elbow version. I don't care for the super thick versions, there's no need to add eggs and butter to get the Indian pudding tradition.
Notice that this calls for less cornmeal if using eggs. It's going to set up either way. The one with eggs will be lighter, more custard like, and probably take less time. The one without eggs depends more on the cornmeal cooking long enough to thoroughly hydrate, having absorbed must of the liquid. So, of course, will also evaporate with the long baking. Note that a 4:1 liquid to cornmeal ratio is a good one for a well hydrated polenta (cornmeal mush without the molasses). Actually I've gone as high as 5:1.
Probably the versions without eggs are older, closer to what a New England colonialist would make. The use of eggs (and a water bath) is a more modern, refined approach.
Another thread on the topic from a couple of years ago.
This is a no egg version with 20 minutes of stove top cooking, then baking, or even microwave.
The comparison to English hasty pudding is relevant.
I've also made a sweet Italian polenta with berries from B Kafka's Microwave Gourmet.