Look at this! It’s dried apricots poached in honey, vanilla and white wine for a Queen Pudding.
I found a little book in my stack of cookbooks in the pantry. Good and Tried recipes from 1927. It’s missing its cover unfortunately. I’ve amassed quite a collection of old cookbooks over the years, some I have cooked and baked from, some I’ve just browsed through. They are not only a collection of recipes, but a historical record of a time long gone and foods and techniques no longer used.
As times get a little tougher and people realise that there are skills being lost, vegetable gardens and chickens are being seen in backyards again and old recipe books being saved and leafed through for recipes from more frugal times. I thought I would give you a small sampling from its very worn pages.
I happened to open the book to the recipe below first. I am not entirely sure that I would want to cook this particular recipe. I think they mean Pukeko (which is a bird) not Pukaki which is a lake named after a Maori
Chief. However a Pukeko is way too cute and they’re a protected native species.
Still, I suspect it must have been tasty, since it made it’s way into a recipe book.
The book also contains all manner of remedies for invalids and first aid, as well as the expected formulas for things like floor polish and how to remove mildew from curtains and suitable meals for the nursery. There is an index in the front, not for the recipes, but for the advertisements! The sceptic in me wonders if we'll see that return, given that a lot of magazines have more advertising than content in them.
There will be no need now for any complaining about sprains as long as you remember this, and next time you cannot sleep, try the remedy above. Who needs new fangled medicines!
Oh, and before you cook the recipe I am about to give you, perhaps nip on down to the local store and pick yourself up a new corset. I’m sure you would like to be presentable for your husband or possible gentleman callers. Targeted advertising is not a new thing.
This is what I decided to make from the book, an Apricot Queen pudding.
I decided to stick with Mrs Winters recipe for Apricot Queen Pudding more or less and see what it turned out like. I have a more modern version of this dessert, but honestly, this one sounds better!
There is of course no oven temperature given, since most women were still using coal ranges. There are many references to a “brisk fire” or “slow fire” throughout the book.
Apricot Queen Pudding - Mrs Winter- 1927
So - as per instructions I stewed (poached) the dried apricots first, almost covering them with water, Taking the liberty of tossing in
- one split vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- and 2 Tbspns of honey
I noticed nearly all the recipes called for a vanilla bean rather than extract, which I thought was interesting, extract must not have quite been in fashion yet?
They plumped up nicely. Then I ate one, and then I ate another one…
Then I made the base, rather than beating the bread down with a fork, I beat it with a whisk, since this seemed to make a little more sense, then I added the yolks and whisked lightly.
Put it into the oven at roughly 180C (350F) for about 30 minutes.
Then I poured the warm fruit on to the cooked custard base.
Next, top the pudding with the meringue. The meringue was very stiff and I had to beat it for some time to ensure the sugar was all incorporated. I’m not sure that it was still really well mixed in even after all the beating: if I was making this again (which I most likely will), I would reduce the sugar in the meringue considerably.
Spread the meringue on it carefully in spoonfuls then put it back intothe oven again, this time at a slightly lower temperature - at roughly 160C for about 15 minutes.
This was the result.
A soft bread custard, with chunks of hot vanilla and honey tasting
apricots covered in a soft meringue.
Thank you Mrs Winter from 1927, a lovely recipe, very simple, adaptable for many different kinds of fruit, and a delightful end to a meal