Queen of Puddings
by Noellen Newton and Naomi Newton
To honour the Queen on her birthday long weekend, we decided to both cook the same recipe and have a bake-off.
This recipe is quite involved and takes longer than other recipes that we have cooked. So be prepared to put on your apron, roll up your sleeves and enjoy the cooking.
Queen of Puddings
Ingredients - 8 or 10 fine juicy apples (pared and cored), ½ lb. macaroons (pounded), 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoonful cinnamon, ½ cup crab apple or quince jelly, 1 pint milk, 1 tablespoonful flour or cornflour, whites of 3 eggs, a little salt.
Mode – Put the apples in pudding dish, well-buttered. Fill half of water, cover closely, and steam in a slow oven till a straw will pierce them. Let them stand until cold (covered). Strain off the water. Put in each apple a spoonful of jelly. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cover again, and leave for 10 minutes. Scald the milk, stir in the macaroons, the salt, and the flour (wet in a little cold milk). Boil 1 minute. Beat for a few minutes, and let it cool before stirring in the beaten whites. Pour over the apples, and bake ½ an hour in a moderate oven.
Having lost a pair of slippers in pursuit of the perfect result (see Turkish Delight), I knew Naomi would do her very best to have a great tasting pudding. The challenge was set!
I used Pink Lady apples and quince jelly. The one shortcut that I used was Naomi’s sensible suggestion - I used precooked meringues (crushed with a rolling pin) mixed with crushed almonds instead of cooking an additional recipe of macaroons.
I cooked the cored and peeled apples for 40 minutes at 160 degrees (fan-forced) in a square baking dish covered with foil and a lid. To cook more quickly I half covered the apples with boiling water. I used a cake tester instead of a straw (!) to test whether they were cooked.
The pudding was a two step-process. I cooked the apples one evening and, when cool, placed them in the fridge until I could cook the rest of the recipe the next day. Thank goodness for modern refrigeration! I think that I would have been in the kitchen for most of the day cooking this recipe in 1913.
Our puddings were tested and tasted by both our work colleagues and ourselves.
My pudding was, surprisingly, not as sweet as I expected it to be. The apple taste was strong but each mouthful held a subtle difference. There was an occasional taste of cinnamon or quince, and my ‘shortcut’ almonds added a crunchy texture.
Challenge accepted! ... and finding the ingredients was the first challenge …
I, too, substituted the recipe’s ‘macaroon’ ingredient for meringues with almonds, but I also substituted the quince jelly for kumquat jam (because I couldn’t find it).
I used Royal Gala apples, as they seemed very fitting for the challenge, and my baking dish was round!
My apples took at least 1 hour to cook - this could be due to the variety. I made the mistake of leaving the lid on during the main cooking time and it didn’t seem to cook at all and was very pale. I cooked it with the lid off for a further 30 minutes, making a 1 hour cooking time in total, which didn’t seem to affect the end result and the top was able to brown.
With all the sugar and sweetness from the apples I expected the dishes to be quite sweet, however they were just right. The kumquat jam gave a bit of ‘bite’ flavour to the pudding.
I think the two dishes were very successful and our colleagues gave them the thumbs up over morning tea. Now we’re just waiting for the winner to be announced … lol.
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Glorious Days: Australia 1913 will be on show at the National Museum of Australia from 7 March to 13 October 2013. Costs apply.