I was a little under the weather today but not in need of prunes. However, there’s a certain healthful image surrounding a dessert made with fruit, particularly prunes, even when that dessert is full of sugar. I decided to take a chance and make Prune Pudding. There are two versions in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book but this one was contributed by Mrs. George Baltzer.
I weighed a pound of prunes but don’t have a conversion for you as I forgot to check to see how many cups are needed. I put them in a saucepan with water, a quarter of lemon and half an orange and turned up the heat. I left them to simmer until soft and then removed the prunes. I chopped them up. I wasn’t sure what to do with the prune juice and citrus fruit so I set it aside. I separated four eggs and beat the whites. Next I slowly added a cup of sugar to the beaten whites. I mixed in the chopped prunes before putting the prune pudding in a dish to bake in the oven for 15 or 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Mrs. George Baltzer was once known as Mary L. Penfold before her marriage in 1897. She was born in Paris Ontario in 1866. George was an accountant in Berlin. His widowed mother Lena continued to live in Berlin appearing in the 1911 census, but I can’t find George and Mary.
This is one of the unexpected desserts using the name “pudding”. It is not a steamed pudding and it is not a milk based pudding. This one seems to refer more to the British custom of using the word pudding the way I use the word dessert. A quick taste of the uncooked mixture had me excited to try the final baked product. My friend Roberta dropped by just as the pudding was coming out of the oven so I coerced her into being a taster. The idea of prune pudding was not appealing but we both cleaned our bowls. This is an incredibly sweet dessert. It is essentially meringue with cooked prunes. Now I realize that could sound horrible but it is not all that bad. It probably would be better served cold with cream as recommended in the recipe. It certainly needs to have something plain not sweet to accompany it.
1 pound of California prunes, mash, soak and put to stew with the rest of a quarter lemon and half orange added, drain off the juice, remove the stones, and chop. Beat the whites of 4 eggs very stiff, add gradually 1 cup granulated sugar, beating all the time, then add the chopped prunes. Bake from 15 to 20 minutes. Serve cold with cream.