Puddings: Staple and Novel
The wise housewife knows she cannot afford to overlook the pudding
Women and their Work
BEATRICE M. HAY-SHAW
THE housewife who has to do all, or most, of her own work is apt to give way to temptation and feed her family on light and quickly-made sweet courses, instead of giving them the old-fashioned but more sustaining puddings. Certainly, it is infinitely less trouble to serve up some canned fruit or sliced fresh fruit with cookies or cake, than to set to work and make substantial steamed puddings; on the other hand, all children, and nearly all men, much prefer the more solid form of nourishment, and many do not feel that they have had a proper dinner unless a good pudding follows the meat course.
And, though puddings do undoubtedly require more care and time than jellies, custards and creams, the reward is the greater when they are hailed with acclamation. My own family consider that they are treated with great injustice if they do not have at least four real puddings a week, and refer even to steamed puddings of the light and fluffy type as ‘fake’.
Consequently, puddings, with me, are a serious matter and one that can never be treated lightly, though I do not suffer quite so much as a friend of mine whose husband insists upon having two different puddings every day, and never condescends to eat one that has been made with bread or that he has seen on the table within a fortnight! Puddings are a perfect nightmare to her, and she goes everywhere armed with a notebook and pencil in the hope that she may meet someone who will be able to tell her of a new variety of pudding.
LANE can hardly start an article of this kind better than with that time honored favorite suet pudding. Now, suet pudding is something which can be the nastiest dish on earth, and which, made with exactly the same ingredients, may be one of the nicest dishes imaginable, and one that even the most exacting male will regard with approval. In the first place, unless it is to be eaten with hot roast meat, as is the custom in some parts of England, suet pudding should never be boiled in a floured cloth. It should always be steamed in a greased basin and not a drop of moisture allowed to touch it. The basins with patent lids are excellent for the purpose, but I always cook all my steamed puddings in an enamel bowl that exactly fits the lower half of my double boiler. I cover the top of the basin, which should be about three parts full of the mixture, with buttered paper, tied firmly around the edge and then put the lid of the saucepan on the top. This keeps the pudding perfectly dry.
Where one is using suet, constantly, it is as well to get one or two pounds at a time from the butcher—the best beef suet—and carefully free it from skin and strings. Chop it and add a little salt and enough flour to keep it dry, until it is almost like fine powder—some people put theirs through the mincer but though this method is quicker, I do not find that it cuts the suet as fine as the hand method. Suet prepared after this fashion will keep fresh for quite a long
time if put into a jar in the refrigerator or any cool place.
To make a good-sized pudding, take a cupful of the chopped suet and mix it well with two and a half cups of fine flour, a teaspoonful of baking powder and a little salt. Mix well together with cold water, until it is of the consistency of very soft dough. Put into the greased basin and steam in plenty of steam for two and a half to three hours. When turned out, the outside should be a light crisp brown as though it had been baked. Serve with corn syrup or molasses—the latter is best if made hot.
This same mixture, if made thick enough to roll out like pastry, can be used as a crust for fruit or meat puddings or shaped into dumplings and boiled with soup or stew. "Again, if sultanas or currants are added, and some spices, with a little sugar and egg, you can produce a simple plum pudding. The good old favorite ‘spotted dog’, beloved in one’s childhood,i and eaten with butter and sugar, is made by adding currants only to the suet mixture. Roly-poly pudding, too, is made with this sort of paste. Roll the paste out fairly thin, spread with a good layer of firm jam. Roly-poly is boiled in a floured cloth, and the great difficulty is to make the jam stay in the pudding instead of oozing out. Only very thick jams, made with the best sugar, are any good for the purpose.
Apple dumplings are always popular, and are usually made with a light pastry and baked. I make mine according to a Nova Scotian recipe—at least I learned it in that province—which has entirely ousted the other from our menu.
Make an ordinary pastry, such as you would use for every day pies—in other words not of the flaked type— roll out fairly thin and cut into four or five large squares. In each square, lay a few pieces of peeled and cored apples, and close the corners in the ordinary way. Put each dumpling into a baking tin or a large pie plate, and pour over them a syrup made with half a cup of sugar to a cup of water, to which powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves have been added to taste. Bake until brown serve with cream or custard. The syrup will run through the crevices in pastry and flavor the apples. It is best to serve them in the dish in which they have been baked, as the syrup forms a sticky toffee on the outside of them.
A variation of this method, is to spread the rolled pastry with butter, a little sugar and the sliced apples. Form into a roll and place it in a baking pan. Slash the top three or four times, and pour the syrup over the roll before baking. This may, again, be varied by using
raisins or sultanas instead of apples. All are equally good whether hot or cold, served with cream or custard.
Some Simple Types
A FAVORITE pudding of my youthful days and ^ which has since proved a standby in my married life, is made by taking some stale bread, cutting it into thick pieces, squares or lengths—and soaking them thoroughly in a very thin batter made by beating up an egg with a little sugar and a large cup of milk or milk and water. Fry each piece in deep fat, drain and serve with jam, marmalade or hot syrup spread on top.
Bread and butter pudding is made by laying slices of bread, which have been well buttered and the crusts trimmed off, in a deep pie dish. Between each layer, sprinkle some raisins, sultanas or currants and a little sugar, and, when the dish is level with the top, pour over the bread and'butter a similar batter to the one used for the jam fingers. Bake until the top is a very light brown. The slices may be spread with marmalade as well as butter when an excellent marmalade pudding will result.
I have a great affection for rice pudding, and consequently sample it whenever I have an opportunity. Therefore, I know how very seldom it is that one comes across a really nice one. There are some people who prefer rice pudding made very solid, and others who prefer it liquid and creamy; some who add eggs and some who omit them. For myself I prefer the creamy type without eggs and with no flavoring but a little nutmeg grated over the top. Where a coal stove is used, rice puddings are simple enough, but where gas or electricity is the cooking fuel rice pudding becomes rather extravagant. I boil my rice until it is soft, in an ordinary saucepan with milk and water. Then I spread it in a deep pie plate, stir in as much sugar as is acceptable, and add as much milk as the dish will hold. I sprinkle grated nutmeg over the top and dab with butter. This bakes in an hour and the butter helps to form the brown top which is the tastiest part of a real rice pudding.
Using Fresh Fruit
LJERE are a couple of summer puddings which are in -*■ -*• frequent use in my family. The first is a cherry pie, the recipe for which I learnt from a north of England cook.
Wash and stone the cherries, and fill a deep pie dish with them. Add sugar, and cover whole with crust somewhat similar to that used for a shortcake. That is, use a small quantity of good shortening, cream it with sugar and an egg, add flour, baking powder and salt as if for cake, and mix into a very soft dough with milk and water. Spread this all over the top of the cherries and bake in a moderate oven. Cherries cooked in this way are infinitely nicer than when served in the ordinary pie crust, and it is especially suitable for the sharp Canadian fruit.
The other is a summer pudding made by pressing slices of thin stale bread into a bowl that has been lightly buttered. The slices should line the sides first, and the eentre be filled with smaller slices,
between each layer of which pour enough hot stewed fruit to thoroughly soak the bread. The best fruits for this purpose are the berries, and those that have seeds such as raspberries or blackberries can be run through a sieve first. It is only the juice that is wanted. When the bowl is full and the bread well soaked with the juice (there should be no white showing at all) put a plate, bottom side down, over the top of the basin, and set a good heavy iron on top of it. This will press the pudding into shape, and, when it has stood for ten or twelve hours, it will turn out as a complete shape which is eaten with custard or cream. A large basin is much easier to fill than a small one.
The ordinary jelly powders are rather uninteresting when used just as they are. They may be made the foundation of many quite satisfying puddings, or be very greatly improved by substituting a small glassful of grape juice, or fresh fruit juice, for the same quantity of water before setting. An excellent rhubarb jelly can be made with a packet of red colored powder to which is added aboqt a pound of stewed rhubarb, which has been pressed through a sieve. A little lemon juice improves the flavor. Apple or gooseberry jelly may be made in the same way.
A very simple cold pudding, which most people like, is made with a round of sponge cake such as most bakers sell for about fifteen cents. Split it and dot thickly with stewed or preserved cherries. Close the round, cut it into equal portions and still keeping it in its shape, place it in a deep dish. Pour over it, evenly, a large cup full of grape juice and water, until the cake is soaked and moist, and cover the top with whipped cream or custard flavored with almond. Dot the top with cherries and blanched almonds.
Pop doodle makes a useful pudding for the midday dinner. Beat one cup of sugar with half a cup of butter, add one beaten egg and one cup of milk. Mix together with two cups of flour, three teaspoonfuls of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Pour into a buttered baking dish and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar. Bake about twenty minutes in a hot oven and eat very hot with butter and sugar.
SO MUCH for the simple and inexpensive puddings. Now, for the occasions when something rather extra special is wanted, try
Pudding àla Gotha. Take six oz. pounded white sugar, half a pint whipped cream, some grated lemon peel, a little powdered cinnamon and beat all these ingredients together with the yolks of eight eggs. Add the whites, whipped stiff, and pour some of it into a mould that has been well buttered and strewn thickly with dry bread crumbs. About three-quarters of a pound of crumbs should be used. Fill up the mould with alternate layers of the mixture with cherries and bake in a moderate oven. Serve with cherry sauce.
For Mousseline pudding—Take one and a half ounces of butter, the same quantity of sugar, and the grated rind and juice of one lemon. Stir in a double boiler with the beaten yolks of five eggs. Then, add the whites, whipped stiff, and steam in a buttered basin for about twenty minutes. Both this and the Gotha pudding are of the soufflé order.
Almond pudding is a recipe used by Sir Moses Montefiore. The quantity given makes three puddings, which may be eaten cold and will keep for several days. To one pound of ground almonds add one pound of sifted sugar aTid beat in the yoks of twelve eggs and the whites of eight. Bake in a slow oven.
Almond and Chocolate Cheesecakes make a useful variety from the ordinary small tartlets. Blanch four ounces of sweet almonds and pound them up with four ounces of crushed loaf sugar, four ounces of butter, the grated rind of one lemon, and some flavoring. Line patty pans with puff pastry, and fill them up with the
mixture which has been beaten smooth with the yolks of six and the whites of three eggs. Bake about a quarter of an hour in a moderate oven. Chocolate cheesecakes are made in the same way only that some grated chocolate is added to the ingredients and only three eggs are needed.
A very nice lemon pudding is made with a quarter of a pound of butter, the same quantity of white sugar, six ounces of breadcrumbs and the rind and juice of one lemon. Beat the butter and sugar to a cream, add two eggs beaten in one at a time, then the breadcrumbs and lemon. Steam quickly for twenty-five minutes, and serve with any good pudding sauce or some melted jelly.
Prince’s pudding is somewhat similar to lemon pudding. For this, beat together the whites of three eggs in butter, sugar
and flour. Add the eggs, one at a time, and a few spoonfuls of strawberry or raspberry jam. Put a pinch of carbonate of soda into a little milk and beat thoroughly into the mixture. Put into a mold or basin and steam for two hours.
Louisa pudding is an elaborate variety of rice pudding. To make it cook a cupful of well washed rice with a pint of milk, a little sugar and the rind of a lemon. When quite soft, remove the lemon rind, allow it to cool, and stir in the beaten yolks of three eggs. Oil a basin or mold, and press the rice into it. When set, scoop out the centre and fill up with ice cream or whipped cream, well flavored. Replace some of the rice over the filling, and set the pudding on ice to get quite firm. Turn out on a dish and surround with slices of fresh fruit, or serve some rose fruit syrup with it.