I found a recipe for potato pudding in an 1877 cookbook, Buckeye Cookery. I’d never eaten or even heard of this type of pudding and decided to try it.
The recipes in this cookbook generally leave a lot to the imagination, but ingredient measurements were given for this one.
Peel six potatoes, cut into small wedges and then cook them on the stovetop. When they are soft and fork-tender, mash them finely.
Separate 5 eggs and reserve 2 egg whites in another bowl. Beat egg yolks and stir into the potatoes. Add a cup of sugar and ½ cup of butter and stir well.
Beat 3 of the egg whites to a stiff froth. Fold into the potato mixture.
Grate one lemon rind and add this and its lemon juice and stir. Add 2 cups of milk or cream and ½ teaspoon of salt.
I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour. Then I whipped the remaining 2 egg whites with 2 tablespoons of sugar until white and fluffy. This was used as icing for the pudding.
I decided to remake this recipe leaving out the lemon altogether. Instead I used cinnamon and nutmeg.
The quantities given made 6 single serving ramekins besides filling a medium baking dish. I chose to cut this down to a third of the quantities suggested.
Using 2 potatoes, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2/3 cup milk, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon salt, I omitted the lemon components and followed the recipe above.
This mixture gave 5 ramekins, which were baked in a larger pan. The ramekins sat in an inch of hot water and baked in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Then I whipped an egg white with a tablespoon of sugar and spread the meringue over the top.
This turned out much better. I refrigerated the pudding. Chilling it improved the flavor.
The original recipe is from 1877 cook, Mrs. Gov. Ingersoll from Connecticut.
-Sandra Merville Hart
Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.