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Since Spenser does not cook this himself it's a judgment call to include it here but it's an unusual enough name to confuse visitors from other countries. I have not been able to find a recipe for the Loch Ober version of this traditional New England dessert so I've used the one from Durgin-Park, a Boston restaurant that has been around for almost forever and where the chef makes about thirty gallons every other day. The original calls for 5 to 7 hours of cooking time but this adaptation does the job just as well.

Just to keep the record straight: this is not a Native American dish adapted by colonial cooks. Its name comes from the fact that early settlers considered virtually anything made with corn to be of American Indian in nature. Many modern versions add 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and ginger and you may want to add them but your average sixteenth century housewife might not have had such exotic ingredients at hand, so this may be a bit more like the original.

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 cups hot milk, divided

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

In a large saucepan combine the cornmeal, molasses, sugar, butter, baking soda, salt, and eggs; stir in 3 cups of milk.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 3 cups of milk. Pour into a well-greased 9-inch square baking dish and bake for 2 hours or until the top feels set when lightly touched.

BTW the modern tradition of serving this hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on top tips it over the edge into ecstasy.

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