A not-so-distant relative of England’s hasty pudding, famous Durgin-Park Indian pudding is made the old-fashioned way, using the same methods settlers practiced centuries ago. Instead of wheat flour, early New Englanders substituted cornmeal as the dessert’s main ingredient, as corn was a staple in the region.
Indian pudding historians claim it’s one of the first American Foods to be documented. Introduced to the early settlers by Native Americans, corn meal was referred to as “Indian meal.” Indian pudding is not a Native American dish adapted by colonists, rather its name originated from the early settlers who considered virtually anything made with corn to be Indian in nature. The earliest recipes contained cornmeal, milk and molasses. Not much has changed in recipes at Durgin-Park from colonial times, and today its recipes are considered the standard for Yankee cooking. Durgin-Park has become synonymous with Indian pudding for celebrities, politicians, famous chefs, Yankees and die-hard Bostonians. Tourist from all over the world visit Durgin-Park to taste the original comfort food savored by our forefathers.
A dessert rooted in American culinary tradition, Durgin-Park’s Indian pudding is a darkish brown with substantial gravity. It smells of roasted corn and taste of Thanksgiving. Matter of fact, Yankees are known to substitute pumpkin pie for this classic dessert. At Durgin-Park, Indian pudding is baked on low heat for hours which is necessary to soften the corn and allow the flavors to meld. Although others add raisins or flavorings, Durgin-Park sticks with the traditional recipe of black molasses, sugar, butter, yellow cornmeal, egg and milk but to doll it up, they place a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop each hot serving.
Founded in 1630, Boston, one of the oldest cities in America, is a city of firsts – America’s first college, first public park, first public school and first subway system. It’s no wonder that Indian pudding can be traced back to the very spot that Durgin-Park calls home, Faneuil Hall, AKA the cradle of liberty.
On your next visit to Boston, make a point to stop in to Durgin-Park Restaurant and experience made-from-scratch Yankee cooking while taking a walk back in time. Enjoy a hearty bowl of revolutionary Indian pudding to top off other favorites including Durgin-Park’s dry-aged roast prime rib or varieties of fresh seafood or slowly baked Boston Bake Beans. Recipes harken back to colonial days, even before rebels dumped chests of tea into the Boston Harbor and Patriots forced redcoats out of Boston.
If warm just baked Indian pudding topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream doesn’t whet your appetite, try one of the many other made-from scratch desserts including strawberry shortcake, coffee jello [another vintage favorite], homemade apple pan dowdy, death by chocolate, Boston cream pie and much more. All desserts and corn bread are baked fresh in the bakery on the premises.
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