Maybe I’m overly-ambitious. I intend, in this blog, to translate old, pre- Fannie Farmer recipes into standardized recipe form– or as close to it as I can get. One tiny problem is that you don’t realize just how many things need to be fiddled with until you are right in the middle of the test-kitchen stage. There are obvious helps like “half pound of…” and “three eggs” but directions saying just “sprinkle sugar over the top” leaves much to the imagination for quantity.
I’ll soon head on to Round Three of Apple-Puff Pudding in the well-known White House Cookbook. Round one was edible but damp because I think the temperature was too low. I chickened out on heat because I wasn’t sure what temperature you’d get in a cooking range, most likely the oven of the time. Lesson one learned–go for heat and just keep an eye on it. Round two, with a higher heat, produced a somewhat puffier and less heavy version but still dense and wet in the center. I added more salt to the batter (another unknown quantity). I also was more generous with the sugar topping at the end. I also noted the first round that since the pied dish required didn’t offer the size, I might have one that is too small. A larger 9 inch might spread out the batter and make it cook more evenly.Lesson two–don’t skimp on sugar… or salt for that matter.
I’ve eaten both versions. The first was tasting somewhat like sugarless Far Breton. It quickly became stodgy and less impressive as it got cold. Round two’s was better cooked, more sugary and, I admit, served with French Vanilla ice cream. It tasted rather nice right out of the oven and the vanilla was a good match although maybe not so authentic. Round two was still dampish but, with the Far Breton texture in the middle, it wasn’t foreign to my tastebuds.
Round three will be tested very soon with bigger dish, I hope, and maybe a slightly higher heat.
The pictures of the results of the first two rounds:
Round 1 results
Round 2 results
The trouble with Apple Puff Pudding is that it is just good enough to keep me trying again and again until I get close to what I think my great-great grandmothers would have been proud to put on their table.I suspect many recipes may be like that in this book. Hope you’ll join me on my adventures and, for goodness sake, please advise and compare notes with me.