The deep, dark porridge known as Indian pudding was created by early colonists who, having no wheat, adapted their recipe for hasty pudding by substituting cornmeal (aka “Indian corn”). It remains a staple in old-time New England restaurants, but is little-known elsewhere. (Note how long Indian pudding bakes: plan ahead!)
1/2 cup black molasses
1 cup granulated yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lard or unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dish
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
6 cups (1 1/2 quarts) warmed whole milk, divided
Garnish: freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and generously grease a 2-quart baking dish, preferably one made of porcelain or stone.
Whisk together molasses, sugar, lard, salt, baking soda, eggs, and 3 cups of milk.
Bake until mixture begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of milk. Reduce the heat to 275 degrees, and bake for another 5-7 hours.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.