An 1877 cookbook, Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, has several recipes for baked pudding. Since lemon desserts are among my favorites, I decided to prepare lemon pudding.
Mrs. M.J. Woods of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, an 1877 cook, provided a recipe titled Delicious Lemon Pudding.
The recipes in this cookbook are usually incomplete or unclear. For instance, Mrs. Woods asked cooks to “line dish with paste.” This was the first time I read this in a recipe and didn’t know what she meant so I sprayed my pie plate with cooking spray.
I used the juice and zest of one lemon with one cup of sugar. After separating two eggs, the yolks were added to the mixture along with three tablespoons of flour.
Mrs. Woods directed cooks to then add enough milk to “fill the dish.” I chose a cup of milk, which ended up working well for both the ingredients and my pie plate.
Nothing was said about heating the mixture on the stove so it went directly into a 375-degree oven.
I made a second batch, decreasing the sugar to ¾ cup. This time I heated the mixture to a light boil then baked it. Twenty minutes later, the difference in texture improved as did the taste.
Using the whites of two medium eggs and two tablespoons of sugar – the correct ratio – didn’t work either. Three medium egg whites with two tablespoons of sugar worked beautifully.
I took the lemon pudding with meringue to a picnic. My friends found it delicious.
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.