I found this recipe when my family decided to try to incorporate traditional Native American cuisine into our Thanksgiving celebration, though this particular dish is actually a blend of Native American and British ingredients and techniques.
The first time I made it, it was part of a very complicated dinner (as seen in the photo here, there were over 14 different dishes on the table). But this recipe was simple and surprisingly light, a nice balance after a huge meal. Out of all the new recipes I tried that Thanksgiving this is one I’ve made repeatedly and look forward to eating again.
It isn’t an impressive “fancy” dessert – it’s simple and old-fashioned. It also won’t require any trips to specialty stores, yet it’s gluten-free and doesn’t include any processed sugars, if that’s a concern for anyone at your table
Since it takes a while to bake, I usually check to see if any other recipes need to be in the oven at that temperature and do double-duty or make it ahead. I’m thinking this would also work very well in a slow-cooker. I haven’t tried that technique yet, but if I do I’ll come back and add an updated note to this post.
- 2/3 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (the dried spice, not fresh)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup maple syrup This may seem like a lot, but do use real stuff if you can. The flavor is worth it.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I like to use a bag of mixed dried berries, about 8 oz. worth, but dried cranberries or raisins would be fine)
In a bowl, combine the cornmeal and spices. Set aside. Combine 3 cups of the milk and the maple syrup in a large saucepan. Heat until just boiling and mix in the butter, stirring until it is melts. (When milk boils it tends to get very fluffy, as seen below, so that’s why you need a larger saucepan).
Mix cornmeal mixture into the hot milk mixture gradually, stirring to prevent lumps from forming (a wire whisk is helpful for this). Keep heat low as you stir until it thickens, 5-10 minutes. Mix in dried fruit.
Pour the thickened cornmeal batter into a buttered 2 quart casserole pan. Pour remaining milk over the pudding – DO NOT STIR. Bake at 300° for 2 ½ hours or until the milk has all been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
If you want to serve it with ice cream, it’s nicer warm. It’s fine room temperature too, though.