Offer this traditional dessert as an alternative to pies—or along with them.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Heat milk slowly in top of double boiler. Slowly add cornmeal and cook over boiling water for 15 minutes, until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally to prevent lumps. Remove from heat. Add molasses, salt, spices, eggs, and if used, raisins. Pour into buttered dish. Bake for 1 to 1-½ hours, until pudding is lightly browned on top. (If raisins are used, stir several times during cooking to keep them from settling on the bottom.) Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.