The cooler weather is coming and it is time for more steamed puddings. These are the cake like desserts that are boiled or steamed for hours and emerge moist and tasty. Last night I made Miss E. Briegel’s (of Montreal) Graham Pudding from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I made it ahead of time so that I could show this style of pudding as part of my cooking demonstration at the International Plowing Match. Tonight I am making Foaming Sauce to try with it. Mrs. Geo. Potter contributed this particular recipe.
The Graham Pudding recipe is among the simpler recipes in the Berlin Cook Book. It includes measurement for all but one ingredient and there are directions regarding cooking time. It doesn’t provide directions for assembling the recipe so I began with the flour. Graham flour is wheat flour but with the graham portion of the grain included. It’s name comes from the surname of the man who made graham crackers famous.
Butter the size of an egg is usually about a tablespoon. I put it in along with the spices, baking soda, and few shakes of salt before mixing it. I measured the liquid ingredients next — the medium egg beaten a little, the molasses and milk made sour with the addition of 1 teaspoon of vinegar. I added the liquids to the dry ingredients and stirred well. It is always fun to see the reaction when soda and molasses meet. I greased a pudding mold and spooned in the batter. I had a pot of water ready and popped the filled mold in making sure the water level matched the amount of batter inside. I turned the heat high and left it to steam for three hours. Once it was done I removed it from the water and left it to sit until today. It was hard not to taste as it smelled good.
I decided to cut the Foaming Sauce recipe in half. I beat 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup sugar together. I wasn’t sure what a froth would look like but decided I would recognize it when it appeared. Creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy seems to be “frothy”. I added a little vanilla since that seems and improvement over plain water. I put the bowl in a pot of hot water on the stove and did my best to stir in one direction. Again I wasn’t sure how a light foam would appear but after stirring a few minutes the texture of the sauce began to change. It started to melt and a sort of foam appeared. I removed it from the stove and prepared a slice of graham pudding for tasting.
I wonder if Miss E. Briegel is the Emma C. Briegel of St. Antoine ward in Montreal in the 1911 census. This woman is 36 years old and living with her German born parents and three younger brothers and a younger sister. They live at 82 St. Luke Street and list their religion as Lutheran. Her father is a superintendent of the post office. Emma is not employed nor is her sister but her brothers work in various clerical fields. So how does someone like Emma in Montreal Quebec end up with a recipe in a Berlin Ontario cook book? I wonder if it is the Lutheran connection? Based on some information in the Waterloo Regions Generations website it is possible that her parents lived in this county before going to Montreal. It looks like Emma had an older sister who was born in Waterloo County but died just a few months later in Montreal and was buried in a Mennonite cemetery back in Waterloo. It also looks like Emma’s mother was a Rathman before marriage providing another connection to the cook book. There is at least one Rathman contributing recipes.
Mrs Geo. Potter is likely Matilda Oberlander — sister to Meda Oberlander the prolific contributor to this cook book and Alexander the St. Paul’s Lutheran minister in Berlin. Matilda had one child at the time the cook book was published and another a few years later. Her husband George Potter was a hardware merchant. The couple lived at 22 Weber street West.
I unmolded the graham pudding just before leaving for the Plowing Match and had a taste. It was okay cold but I think it will be even better warm or with sauce. While at the plowing match I appeared on the local Rogers cable show Daytime and provided a sample of Graham Pudding to the host Susan Cook-Scheerer. Her comment was that it tasted like a ginger cookie at first. I’m glad she said that as I’d been having trouble describing the flavour of this pudding. It is ironic that it tastes of ginger since it isn’t one of the ingredients. I think it is the combination of molasses and cinnamon that gives it that comforting familiar taste. The pudding isn’t sweet either which is a nice change. Of course adding Foaming Sauce is likely to change it.
The foaming sauce is basically butter and sugar and vanilla and that’s the taste too. I was okay on the graham pudding but I think the sauce would work better with a more fruity pudding rather than one with such strong spices. I think a lemon sauce would go very nicely with the graham pudding. I’ll consider trying both these recipes again.
2 1/2 cupsful Graham flour, 1 egg, butter the size of an egg, 1 cupful molasses, 1 cupful sour milk, 1 teaspoonful soda, 1 teaspoonful cinnamon, 1 teaspoonful cloves; salt to taste. Steam 3 hours.
1/2 tea cup of butter, the same of sugar beat to a froth, put in a dish and set in a pan of hot water; add a tablespoon of hot water, or if preferred a little vanilla; stir one way until it comes to a very light foam.