14 August 2007
Day 3: Indian Pudding Ice Cream
If I had known what Indian Pudding was, I never would have ordered it as an ice cream flavor. When I asked the young Polish man behind the counter of a Maine ice cream parlor, he just said it was a molasses spice flavor and mumbled something about corn (which I thought surely he must have mistranslated), but he assured me it was good. I ordered it on his advice, and it quickly became one of my favorites of that summer. It was only later that I learned about this classic New England dessert, a slow-baked pudding made with cornmeal, molasses, and eggs. It turns out to be a delicious ice cream flavor also, but I know what you’re thinking, cornmeal, in ice cream?
In the kitchen with Grandma and Aunt Jemima, someone forgot to invite Uncle Ben?!
However, after tinkering around with the recipe, I’ve found just the ice cream that will convince you otherwise. The cornmeal is cooked until very soft, so it adds body to the ice cream, and a bit of texture, but it’s not in any way gritty or annoying. The wonderful flavors of molasses and spices are warm and sweet, and it’s perfect with a little drizzle of maple syrup over top. This ice cream tends to freeze a bit hard, so I recommend serving it soon after churning.
Indian Pudding Ice Cream
This ice cream has the warm flavors of molasses and spice, and the cornmeal custard gives it a nice body without being at all gritty. Because it tends to freeze a bit hard, I recommend serving it soon after churning, preferably drizzled with lots of maple syrup.
2 cups half-and-half*
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbl cornmeal
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
for serving: maple syrup
1. Place two cups half-and-half in a saucepan with the cornmeal, brown sugar, molasses, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 7-10 minutes, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a very thin porridge. Test the mixture, the cornmeal should be soft and not at all gritty, if it is not, continue to cook slowly until the cornmeal is soft. Remove from the heat and stir for a minute or so to cool the mixture. Stir in the one cup of cream to combine.
2. Refrigerate the mixture to chill thoroughly, at least 3 hours. Churn in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately, drizzled with maple syrup, or pack into containers and store in the freezer.
*2 cups half-and-half is also known as 1 cup whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream. If you're looking to make a lower-fat version, you can try using all whole milk instead of the half-and-half.