Baked Indian Pudding

This has been a bad week for recipes. Monday’s brownies were probably the worst brownies I’ve ever eaten. Wednesday I was snowed in and decided to try a butter extending recipe. That didn’t work out and will have to wait for another February day. Today we made a baked Indian pudding and didn’t fare much better. I want to include even the recipes that aren’t great, so today I present to you Baked Indian Pudding.

This recipe is from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. It was in an article called “Purse String Recipes”. The recipes were adapted from old favorites to keep costs down for the home front housewife. To do this, they made substitutions and cut back on certain ingredients. I picked baked Indian pudding because it sounded like it would be a comforting treat on a cold evening.

Baked Indian Pudding

  • 1/3 c corn meal
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/2 c molasses
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger

Scald 2 1/2 cups of the milk in upper part of double boiler. Combine corn meal with 1/2 cup of the remaining milk and stir gradually into the scalded milk. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add molasses, sugar, salt, and ginger. Pour into buttered baking dish. Bake in slow oven at 300°F for about 1 hour. Stir in remaining cup of milk and continue baking for 2 hours. Serve warm with top milk.


Baked Indian pudding was runnier than most bread puddings I’ve had. It tasted a bit like gingerbread, but had an aftertaste that was off-putting. There were clumps in the pudding despite thorough stirring. None of the testers enjoyed this recipe even though this type of dish is usually well liked at my house. I don’t think that adding my usual scoop of ice cream would have helped this pudding. It wasn’t good, but it was better than Monday’s brownies!

I hate to think that families had to resort to eating foods that were so changed from their original recipes that they became unappealing shadows of themselves. How often did they have to make do with meals based on recipes that made barely edible dishes? Were there recipes that used substitutions that were tasty? What were the flavorful wartime dishes in a home front housewife’s arsenal of recipes? That’s something I hope to explore this month.

As for this pudding today–I wonder if the regular, non-adapted dish was any better. I found several more early 1940s Indian pudding recipes and I think I’ll try them this week. Then we can compare. Perhaps we don’t like Indian pudding no matter what the recipe is. I’m looking forward to finding out.

Does your family have a similar pudding recipe? I’d love to hear about it.

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