With the increase in the number of dairy cattle brought to Plymouth Colony from England during the late 1620’s, milk and milk products became somewhat more plentiful and the Pilgrims could begin to approach the idea of an English-style milke pudding. Wheat flour was still scarce, of course, so they used cornmeal instead and called the new creamy, baked dessert “Indian” pudding, even though it contained such non-Indian ingredients as milk, eggs, butter, molasses for sweetening, and pinches of such exotic spices as cinnamon and ginger. Thick cream, when available, was poured over the pudding – another non-Indian and distinctly English touch.
The molasses that went into the New England Indian pudding was a special case, for it was neither British nor American Indian in origin. It was the product of Yankee business enterprise as expressed through the New England sea trade.