Today’s recipe is Caramel Pudding. Mrs. Geo. Fischer submitted this recipe for the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I wanted to make this pudding right from the start of this project but thought it would be good in the summer when I didn’t want to use the oven. Today I just couldn’t wait. This is the style of pudding from my childhood. It is what many people think of when hearing the word pudding. A basic milk and cornstarch pudding made famous in Jello ads over the years.
I decided to make half of the recipe. I added 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of white sugar in the saucepan over medium heat. When it was just starting to bubble at the edges and was starting to steam I removed it from the heat. I let it cool a bit while I beat 2 eggs in a bowl and then put the hot sweetened milk on the eggs. I stirred the eggs as I slowly poured in the milk. This is the moment I dreaded as I was worried I’d end up with scrambled eggs but it worked okay. Back into the pot with it all and then I added 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch which I’d dissolved in about 2 tablespoons of cold water.
I put 1/2 cup of brown sugar into another saucepan on low heat and let it dissolve and turn liquid. I left it just a moment too long and it started to smell scorched. This is the moment that personal taste could affect future puddings. Let it get to this point and the flavour is different than if it is just liquid. I started to make another mistake. The milk mixture had cooled a bit and adding hot liquid sugar meant I started to make candy! I waited until the milk was very hot and then started adding the sugar again stirring as I slowly poured. I added the vanilla and the pudding started to thicken quickly. Again personal choice means you can have a thick pudding or a thin one. Keep in mind it will thicken as it cools.
Based on the 1911 census I suspect that Mrs. Geo. Fischer is Ida F. the wife of George B Fischer. They have a 6-year-old daughter in their home on Samuel street in Berlin and the couple are 43 years old. Mr. Fischer is a chipper in for a rubber footwear manufacturer. They have German heritage but are Methodists. Another possibility is the 62-year-old George Fischer listed in the 1901 census. He and his 54-year-old wife Catherine live in Waterloo with their three young adult children and a male domestic servant . This family is Catholic and this Mr. Fischer is a farmer, the son is listed as farming son, and the servant is actually a farm labourer. Their heritage is German.
This is a tricky pudding to make but it is worth it. Mine had a slightly burnt caramel flavour and a few lumpy bits but it was still surprisingly tasty. I had expected something like the classic Jello butterscotch pudding of my childhood. It is sweeter than I expected but that is balanced by the caramel flavour. This is a bit more like a mixed together creme caramel. I consider this pudding for grown ups. It will form that famous milk pudding skin. I’ve heard a modern cook can avoid it by placing plastic wrap right on the surface of the pudding. I don’t like pudding skin but I just move it aside.
I thought perhaps after I made and tasted the pudding I could decide which Mrs. Geo. Fischer contributed the delicious Caramel Pudding recipe but I’m still not sure.
1 quart of milk, 1 cup of white sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 4 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla; put in milk and white sugar in saucepan over the fire, beat eggs in a large bowl and turn scalding milk over, put back in kettle and add cornstarch wet in a little cold water; put brown sugar in pan over fire and stir until thoroughly scorched, but be careful not to burn, stir it into the cornstarch with vanilla, beat vigorously until scorched and well dissolved. Serve cold with whipped cream.