In honour of Friday, often called Date Night, I decided to make something with a different sort of date. It’s time for another pudding from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This one is Steamed Date Pudding from Mrs. E. Hollinger. I used one of Mrs. Hollinger’s recipes earlier and was intrigued by some apparent changes in her life. Here’s what I know so far: Mary Cook married Edward Hollinger who was a hotel clerk in Listowel and then a hotel keeper in Waterloo. Somewhere between 1901 and 1911 the couple moved to Berlin and in the later census they are listed as lodgers at the home of Charles Karn a physician. Edward’s occupation is retired hotelkeeper. Both Mary and Edward spoke both German and English and they could read and write. Their religion is listed as Lutheran.
Mary’s recipe appeared quite straight forward until I realized it doesn’t indicate the amount of dates. Then I noticed it includes baking powder but doesn’t mention flour at all. I thought perhaps it was one of the milk based puddings but why would I need baking powder unless there was flour too? I decided to start making the pudding and consider whether to add flour and the amount of dates as I added the various other ingredients.
I creamed the butter and sugar together and then added the eggs. Next I mixed in the milk. Sweet milk simply means fresh milk instead of sour milk. I added the baking powder. It was time to make some decisions. At this point I had a liquid mixture and if Mrs. Hollinger had used the word batter instead of dough I would have simply added dates and started to steam. I chopped dates until I had a cup. I decided to mix them with a cup of flour and add it all to the pudding. Now I had something that looked much more like a dough. It went into a greased pudding mold and then into the pot of water to steam for 1 1/2 hours.
The steamed date pudding came out of the mold very well and smelled good. It was very moist and there seemed to be just the right amount of dates. Next time I’ll add a bit more flour to strengthen the pudding just a little and moderate the very buttery flavour. I tasted the pudding while it was still hot so it might become firmer as it cools. I don’t think the pudding needs a sauce although whipped cream would finish it nicely. This is another recipe I’ll use again.
STEAMED DATE PUDDING
2 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, 3/4 cups sweet milk, 3 teaspoons baking powder. Chop dates and put in dough. Steam for 1 1/2 hours.