What to Eat in Boston: Indian Pudding
What: A dessert dating to America’s Colonial days, Indian pudding is a sweet baked pudding made with cornmeal, molasses, milk, butter, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger); it’s served hot, usually with vanilla ice cream, to close out a feast (it’s traditional at Thanksgiving for some New England families). Early settlers likely tried to recreate a familiar British dish called hasty pudding, but without easy access to wheat flour, substituted cornmeal — corn, of course, being plentiful in the New World, and the staple crop of Native Americans. This dish’s name stems from the fact that those settlers called corn "Indian corn," and therefore tended to throw the word "Indian" before any dish made with corn or cornmeal. Indian pudding alone is almost too sweet and molasses-y, but throw in some ice cream, and the cold creamy contrast makes the dish.
Where: A somewhat dingy, old-school restaurant dating to 1742, Durgin-Park is one of the few Boston restaurants still serving a traditional version of this dish (and other Yankee favorites). Located in historic Faneuil Hall, it’s mostly tourists and old-timers, but a great place for regional dishes if you know what to order.
When: Monday to Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Order: You might sample some other classic Boston fare here, like scrod, fish cakes, and baked beans, but definitely close with the Indian pudding ($5.95). It isn't pretty, but it tastes good: a super sweet mix of hot and cold, with an earthy, polenta-like texture made creamy by the fast-melting ice cream
Alternatively: You’ll find Indian pudding at Anthony’s Pier 4 and regional chain Summer Shack (multiple locations including 50 Dalton St., map), where it’s accompanied by soft-serve unless you request otherwise.