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Gram’s Cookbook – Page 33 Graham Pudding and Vanilla Egg Sauce

Graham Flour Pudding.  Yumm-o!  Wait, you don’t see it in the instant pudding section at the grocery store?  Well, that’s odd…

Pudding in the USA is usually a milk based thing that is creamy in texture and loved by nearly all kiddos.  Everywhere else in the world though, a pudding varies… and in England it is usually a starchy solid thing that can be sweet (figgy pudding) or savory (kidney pudding) and used to often be served as a main attraction at a meal.  Lots more information at this wikipedia site.

The interesting thing that I learned was that puddings can be prepared and then stored for 3 MONTHS before eating it.  I’m not sure exactly how that works, but the website, said either in the fridge or just out on the counter.  Boiled puddings (which are cooking inside a muslin sack in boiling water) are hung to age for up to 4 months!  I’m no germaphobe, but I think that I’ll skip the storing thing unless it happens to be in the refrigerator.

But, in thinking about it, puddings like this make sense.  Back before the days when every kitchen had an oven (even a wood burning one) people cooked on an open fire either outside or in the kitchen fireplace.  If you wanted something like a cake – this was the way to get it.  And, if it really lasts as long as they say, it was also a way to preserve food for later.

With that in mind, today’s recipe is not the Jello version – this is a solid sweet labor of love…

So, today I’ll give the original recipe, the updated version with cooking directions and the write up by the fab Caitlin of the blog, Ubiquitous non Sequitur.

Graham Pudding

3/4 c. molasses
1 c sour cream
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
pinch of salt
1 t cinnamon
1 c sugar
1 c graham flour
1 c raisins
Then steam.

Dressing –
2 eggs
large tablespoon of butter
1 c of sugar
1 cup of water
1 T vanilla
2 t flour or cornstarch

Alice Noone

Directions in an updated fashion:

Combine molasses, sour cream and sugar in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients and raisins.  Slowly stir into wet ingredients.

Prepare a mold of adequate size – remember this will expand a fair bit.  The mold will need to be about twice as big as the amount of batter prepared and then carefully greased with butter.  You can also line the bottom of the mold with baking paper that has been buttered on both sides. 

After putting the batter inside the mold, take a large piece of aluminum foil, line it with more buttered baking paper.  Tent/pleat the foil so that there is room for the pudding to expand and then use kitchen string to tightly tie the foil around the outside edge of the mold so as to prevent steam from entering the mold and making the pudding soggy.

The mold should fit inside a large pot and enough boiling water between the two that the water reaches 1/2 way up the side of the mold.  Steam for 3 hours, (turn the stove down to simmer) making sure to check the water level every 1/2 hour or so to make sure that it is still 1/2 way up the side of the mold.  A knife inserted into the pudding should come out clean when it is done.  Let rest for 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the mold – and turn out onto a warm plate.

While the pudding is cooking, make the sauce.

Most of the cooking directions I found after giving the recipe to Caitlin and were located on the site.  It has much more detailed directions and lots of good information!

Sauce directions:

Combine sugar and cornstarch or flour.  Place in a sauce pan, add water.  Bring to boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.  Beat eggs until frothy, then SLOWLY add into the sugar mixture beating the entire time.  Return to the stove, heat until thick and creamy, stirring constantly – a few minutes.  Stir in the vanilla and butter.  Serve over the pudding.

So, last week I asked for volunteers and Caitlin sent me this lovely write up and pictures so…

Caitlin’s Review

First of all, thanks to Jeannie for letting me do this! I have stolen this recipe. I foresee it becoming a frequent visitor on my holiday table – possibly with a few tweaks. But not many.

This recipe reminded me of MY grandmother who loves a proper English pudding, and would make one now and again (on the rare occasion we were near her for the holidays. Which was not very often…). She would make a hard sauce to go with it, and I could usually make it through less than a serving before the heavy weight of that pudding would sink in and I wou;dn’t be able to do anymore. (and the sauce was maybe a bit boozy for a small kid…). This recipe managed to hit all the traditional notes without the heaviness I remember from puddings gone by, and the sauce is awesome (although a bit sweet for me – but I LOVE the texture I got out of it!).

As Jeannie mentioned, the directions are such that the author expects you to know what you’re doing. And unfortunately common cooking terms and techniques have changed over the years. The pudding seemed straight forward enough, but the sauce kind of stumped me at first. Lucky for me, I am a recovering restaurant cook (with pastry experience) and I collect vintage cookbooks. Unlucky for me they do not fit in my Airstream, and are all in my mom’s basement in Vancouver, BC. But with a little help from the links Jeannie sent, google, and with a little time spent pouring over scanned vintage cookbooks from 1918 (thank you Google books!), I came up with something that I do like very much.

Here’s what I did:

Gathered the materials. Graham flour used to be a common ingredient, but in 2011 Burlington NC, not so much. Thankfully Wikipedia actually had a ‘recipe’ for graham flour – even in the one cup amount I needed! – so I made my own. ~2/3 cup white flour, ~1/3 cup wheat bran, and 1 tsp of wheat germ. All things I already had. Whew. First obstacle cleared.  (Jeannie here – my little HEB has graham flour and it is also available on Amazon – Bob’s Red Mill is one brand that I know carries it so check your store to be sure.)

I mixed the sour cream and molasses together in one bowl, and the dry ingredients in another. At this point I decided to deviate from the recipe. Slightly. For two reasons: 1) I didn’t have raisins on hand, and 2) will NEVER have raisins on hand as I abhor them. I apologize to Jeannie for this, but I really don’t think the end result suffered too greatly.  (Jeannie here – I deplore raisins, too, so this is totally acceptable to me!)

And here was obstacle #2, which seemed to be pretty common even back in the day when people made steamed puddings more commonly – I don’t have a pudding mold. Evidently people used to use an old can with a piece of foil (or cloth I suppose?) tying it down. I used a pyrex bowl. And oh joy of joys! Obstacle #3: I had no foil. I first tried wax paper with a rubber band, but the steam popped it off, so I tied the wax paper around the rim of the bowl with nylon mason twine (out of kitchen twine at the moment….). This worked and kept it on. I put the batter in the greased bowl, tied on the top, put it on a washcloth laid on the bottom of a pan, filled the pan up with water until the bowl was submerged 2/3 of the way, covered the whole thing and cooked it for an hour.

That’s right. An hour. Did I not mention obstacle #4? I didn’t have anything big enough for all of the batter, and I knew from my research that it would puff up and I shouldn’t fill it more than 2/3 of the way, so I only cooked about 1/3 of the batter. My research also leads me to believe that the entire amount at one go would probably take about 3 hours.

For the sauce I mixed together the sugar and cornstarch, and then added the water. I put the whole thing on the stove and heated it until the sugar dissolved. I beat the eggs until they were frothy, and then slowly added the sugar mixture to the eggs, beating all the while. I dumped the whole thing back into the pan and cooked it on low heat (only a few minutes) until it was nice and thick and creamy. I took it off the heat and added the vanilla and the butter. Whisked them in, and poured the warm sauce over the pudding.

As I mentioned, the pudding fires on all holiday cylinders, without being like a rock or a doorstop. The sauce is a bit sweet for MY taste, but it remained frothy and pretty and shiny. The model sauce, really.

I took this pudding to my neighbor’s house (my ‘family’ is moving in with me this weekend and I wanted another opinion), and every single member of that family (once I assured them that steamed puddings of this nature were a food genre) tried it and loved it. Enough said. I myself managed to eat the full pudding I made for photographic purposes (another 1/3 portion) for dinner. I figure the bran and wheat germ are good for me 🙂

Finally… “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” which is the original version of “the proof is in the pudding”.  Don Quixote used the phrase in his book, Miguel de Cervantes in 1615 but may have originally been published by Bileau in Le Lutrin.  Regardless of the originator, it means that one can only know the value of something when it is used.  Which is a bit like how I like things – the pretty things that are useless don’t mean much to me, but the things (or people) that are of substance are treasured greatly.

The next two weeks will be all about preserves and pickles.  Jam packed 2 pages of them!

Thanks for visiting and please share my blog with others – thanks!


2 responses »

  1. Glad to see Caitlin had better results than me… I’m still gonna try again when I the graham flour and with regular molasses… I think my favorite pudding is “sticky toffee pudding” I had in Scotland last month.. yummo

  2. I forgot to mention – walnuts would be awesome in this!


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