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Indian Pudding (1978)

Indian Pudding (1978)
73 votes, 3.67 avg. rating (73% score)
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Total Time: 45

Yield: 8 servings

Another "Great New England Cook," Dorothy Oliveira of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, came our way in the late 1970s with recipes for chicken fricassee and something called "tomato soup cake" (we passed on that one). Her Indian pudding, from September 1978, is a classic, however. In her original recipe, she called for a "lump of butter the size of a medium egg." We decided that was two and a half tablespoons.

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Indian Pudding (1978)
Photo/Art by Heath Robbins


  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger>
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing


Heat oven to 325°. In a small pan, scald milk. Whisk in molasses and cornmeal, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine egg, sugar, salt, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into cornmeal/milk mixture. Pour into a greased 1-quart casserole. Bake 30 minutes. Add milk and butter. Continue baking about 1 hour. Serve with cream or ice cream.
Updated Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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13 Responses to Indian Pudding (1978)

  1. Anonymous September 26, 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    This was absolutely fabulous! It made the house smell like when I was a little girl, the texture was perfect and I ATE THE ENTIRE PAN!

  2. Marguerite Cartwright October 1, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Why did you pass on tomato soup cake? It is excellent and we used to have it all the time. Try it, you’ll like it!

  3. Richard Way November 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    This was SO good!!

  4. A Shinske October 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    The tomato soup cake IS delicious if you have a great recipe! Do try it, I agree!

  5. Nancy Lawler November 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    My Mom made tomato soup cake and it was sooooooo wonderful. Warm spices that would perfume our house. Made a cool rainy/snowy day warm and comforting. Sometimes adding raisins and frosting with a cream cheese frosting . Great memories,

  6. elaine December 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    I am from Maine and my MOM made the best India Pudding.when I lived at home.

    Elaine from Maine, now from Florida.

  7. A. Burns October 1, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

    I am so glad I found this via Facebook. I will try it. Regarding the tomato soup cake — you have to try it. It is a rich, soft spice cake. Becky Johnson’s book, “Memories: Vintage Cake Recipes” has an excellent recipe for “Husband’s Cake” which is what they used to call tomato soup cake.

  8. Helen Buzzell November 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    I was wondering…. I made the pudding and was a bit confused about adding the milk and butter after baking for 30 minutes. Do you just pour it on top or mix it into the pudding? I ended up mixing it. It was delicious, but I wondered what the correct way was.
    Thanks, Helen

    • Aimee Seavey November 16, 2015 at 9:30 am #

      Hi Helen. Good question. Many older recipes for Indian Pudding have this step, where more milk and/or butter are added to the pudding during baking. Often, it was not mixed it, so there would be a liquid, milky layer on top of the pudding. Many bakers today stir the milk into the pudding. You may get a slightly different texture or surface of the pudding, but we’ve found that both methods give you a tasty result as long as you bake it the correct length of time and at the right temperature. Thanks!

      • Helen Buzzell November 25, 2015 at 10:45 am #

        Thank you. This helps a lot. I prefer stirring it in, but I may try it the other way after Thanksgiving. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

  9. Robert November 13, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Question, after cooking for 30 minutes,the recipe states to add the milk and butter. Is this mixed in? Details please.

    I grew up with Indian Pudding as a cold season staple. It was also a great example of New England greatness coming from frugal ingredients.

  10. linds mvcafeem November 14, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Didn’t think anyone knew about tomato spoup cake I am from portland me my mom used to make with cream cheese frosting livein albany ny now made it for friends at work they thought I was crazy but loved it after tasting not so crazey about pudding but love homemade brown bread

  11. Diane December 18, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    Just found your recipe for New England Indian Pudding. I have a recipe that was my great grandmothers. It calls for cornmeal and tapioca cooked with quart milk until thick. Then add white sugar molasses cinnamon salt and butter. Put in bean pot add 3 cups more milk and bake in slow oven until thick. My mom and grandmother made this in early evening and cooked it all night. This was always made before Thanksgiving and enjoyed till the New Year. I always thought this was a family recipe as it was called Grandmother Pearsons Indian Pudding. I belive Grandmother Pearson was my great grandmother.

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