I had some quickly ripening bananas in my kitchen so I decided to make Hilda Rumpel’s Banana Pudding from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. There are several such recipes in the cook book but hers is the easiest to follow for a modern cook.
I put the milk into a glass bowl and set it on top of a saucepan of water. I put the heat on medium and then mixed cornstarch and sugar into another bowl. It turns out I should have used a bigger bowl for the dry ingredients. Once the milk was hot I spooned some into the small bowl of dry ingredients since the entire cup wouldn’t have fit in my chosen bowl. I kept spooning in hot milk and stirring until it was a liquid. I poured this back into the makeshift double boiler and let it thicken. It is important to stir as I ended up with some lumps when I walked away to attend to something else. I sliced two bananas and put them in a bowl. Once the milk mixture was thickened I added the vanilla and then poured it over the sliced bananas. I let it cool a bit.
Hilda Louise Rumpel submitted several recipes to the Berlin Cook Book. She’s among the youngest of the contributors since she’s around 15 in 1906. Her fatherGeorge Rumpel was the mayor of Berlin when Hilda was just 7 years old. In the 1911 census she’s living with her parents, niece and some servants. Hilda is listed as 20 years old and her father is a manufacturer. This German Lutheran family lives at 39 Cameron Street. Just the year earlier, in 1910, she’d been part of the excitement as the town of Berlin received electric power from Niagara Falls. Hilda married a bank clerk named Stanley Reade in 1916.
I wonder if Hilda served banana pudding to her new husband? It is an acceptable dessert but the taste of cornstarch was a bit noticeable in my version. I ate it alone and perhaps serving it with the suggested cream or milk would reduce the starchy sensation. Whipped cream would be an improvement for a modern cook. This could be a good dessert for kids to make and enjoy.
1 cup milk, 4 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 banana sliced thinly; heat the milk in the top part of a double boiler, mix sugar and cornstarch thoroughly in a bowl, stir into them the heated milk and return to the heat, and stir until it thickens; add the flavoring, slice the banana thinly into a pudding dish, then pour the mixture over them and set away to cool. Serve cool with milk or cream.
NOTE — Level measurements are used.