A Nice Indian Pudding

Those of you who like cornbread may want to try this for a change. Thick, much like a bread pudding, it can be sweetened and spiced to your liking. Use it as a side dish or a different kind of dessert.

18th Century

3 pints scaled milk, 7 spoons of fine Indian meal, stir together while hot, let stand till cooled; add 7 eggs, half pound of raisins, 4 ounces butter, spice and sugar; bake one and a half hour.

— Simmons, Amelia, “American Cookery,” 1796.

21st Century

  • 1 pint of milk (or cream if you want it rich) + 2 or 3 tbsp cream
  • 10 ounces of cornmeal
  • 3 ounces of raisins
  • 3 ounces of sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp each (or less if you choose) of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 ½ ounces of butter melted
  • 3 eggs
  1. Heat milk over medium heat. Remove it from burner and slowly add the cornmeal, stirring it slowly with a whisk. Once blended return it to the burner and cook until fairly thick.
  2. Remove from heat and add melted butter and spices then blend these altogether.
  3. In a mixing bowl whisk eggs well, add the tablespoons of cream and whisk until incorporated with the eggs.
  4. Add the eggs to the cornmeal mixture and blend thoroughly with a spoon.
  5. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 inch pie plate.
  6. Bake in a 360° oven for 30 minutes or more. Stick a knife blade in, and if it comes out clean it is done.

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20 Responses to “A Nice Indian Pudding”

  1. June 27th, 2013

    Lane Rose says:

    Could you translate the ounces to cup/spoon measurements?

    • July 10th, 2013

      Historic Foodways says:

      Susie Hoard’s response (below) is correct which will make the the following a translation of cups to ounces. 1 pint of milk is 2 cups, 10 ounces of cornmeal is 1 1/4 cups, 3 ounces of raisins is 6 Tbsp, the same with sugar and 3 Tbsp of butter.
      Thanks for asking. I hope this will aid you in the process.
      Dennis Cotner

  2. July 1st, 2013

    Susie Hoard says:

    One ounce equals approximately 1/8 cup or 2 Tablespoons.

  3. July 3rd, 2013

    mitch says:

    Just a quick clarification please! The recipe says 1 pint of milk and 3 eggs, but in the video, Frank says 3 pints scalded milk and 7 eggs,(which is what is in the original) Is the updated recipe just scaled down?

    • July 10th, 2013

      Historic Foodways says:

      Thanks for asking about that. The modern recipe is scaled down. Frank was referring to the original recipe.

  4. July 4th, 2013

    carolina says:

    Oops! When speaking of Simmons’ book, Frank says it was “published in 1797”! Alas, no. It was, indeed, 1796 (as it’s given above). In fact, there were two editions published by her in that same year, one in Hartford, CT and one in Albany, NY. One request: I would’ve liked to’ve seen it cut into, so we could see what it looks like inside. Nevertheless, it looks mighty tasty! HUZZAH!

  5. July 17th, 2013

    J Bell says:

    Would you please publish the recipe for Shield’s Tavern cabbage slaw?

  6. July 18th, 2013

    Jen G says:

    Tried this today and LOVED it! I will definitely prepare it again soon. Perhaps then I’ll be able to snap a photo–this one didn’t stay unsampled long enough!

  7. November 25th, 2013

    Angela Hursh says:

    I tried it! I think it tastes best warmed slightly with a little whip cream and some maple syrup or honey drizzle. MMM-love the blog and keep up the good work!

  8. December 6th, 2013

    Epicee says:

    I enjoy looking at your recipes and was inspired to download ebook versions of some of the cookbooks you draw from. I made one of the gingerbread cookie recipes from American Cookery, and I was wondering, when a recipe from 1796 calls for “sugar,” does that refer to white granulated sugar or was their sugar less refined, with brown sugar being a closer substitution? I notice that you call for white sugar in recipes calling for sugar, but I just wondered if you could give a little more information on what kind of sugar was commonly available.

    And thanks for the work you do in posting the recipes.

  9. April 18th, 2015

    Anna D. says:

    This was a wonderful recipe! The house smelled absolutely wonderful while it was baking, and I was thrilled with the result. The spices and cornmeal so remind me of meals in the taverns of Williamsburg–a welcome fond memory back here in Colorado!

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I look forward to trying many more from this website!

  10. October 22nd, 2015

    Jonna says:

    I just realized the recipe does not say when to add in the sugar and raisins?

    • November 5th, 2015

      Historic Foodways says:

      You add them when you are mixing up the batter. I might whip the eggs first then add all the other ingredients and put them in the dish to bake.


  11. November 11th, 2015

    Jamie says:

    My new holiday staple. I cooked it in a silicone cake pan, which allowed me to turn it out with minimal damage. I used the full amount of spices called for, but I think I’ll cut back a little on the spices next time – the strength of flavor was great, but the amount of spices left a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. Like many puddings and “wet” dishes, even better the next day. A wonderful companion to vanilla ice cream.

  12. November 11th, 2015

    Jamie says:

    Here’s a photo of the pudding as served – I topped with powdered sugar, and garnished with dried cranberries and pomegranate syrup. My husband might have literally licked the plate. Thank you for a great recipe, the first of many I’ll cook from this site!

  13. February 13th, 2017

    Marsha Heien says:

    I loved your demo but one bit of advice…when adding eggs to a mixture, always break them one at a time into a separate cup and THEN add the egg to your mixture. I’ve never had a rotten egg, but I’ve been told once you have, you never forget. If you break that egg directly into your mixture and it’s gone bad, you’ve wasted your entire bowl of batter. So always break it into a cup and then add it to your mixture…better to be safe than sorry.

  14. March 24th, 2017

    Crybaby says:

    thanks for this!

  15. February 13th, 2019

    Just happened onto this wonderful site today! I’m wondering if the “pint” of 1796 was the 16-ounce pint we use in the US today or if it was the 20-ounce pint used in England. Which would make the original recipe calling for 60 ounces rather than 48. The image is a photo of my own recipe from several years ago.

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