Tomorrow night I’m attending my first Christmas event of the season. It is a pot luck supper at my neighbourhood community centre. I have a busy schedule tomorrow so I’m going to make my contribution tonight. I was going to make a suet based pudding but I suspect there will be some vegetarians attending so instead I’m making an unusual steamed pudding called Pudding Celeste. Mrs. W. H. Bowlby contributed the recipe for the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
The instructions for this pudding are reasonably clear. I put most of the pint (2 cups) of milk into a saucepan to heat. The rest of the milk (1/2 cup) went into a bowl. I added the rice flour and stirred well. I weighed the butter and sugar before adding them to the cold milk and flour. Two ounces of butter equalled 2 1/2 tablespoons and two ounces of sugar was 1/4 cup. Finally I added the vanilla.
When the milk had boiled for two minutes I carefully added the cold mixture and kept stirring (and kept an eye on the time too). Once it was thick I removed it from the heat to cool. At this point it tasted like vanilla pudding. I separated the three medium eggs and beat the yolks before stirring into the cool milk mixture. Although the recipe didn’t say to beat the egg whites I missed that part! I went ahead and whipped and added them to the rest. I greased a pudding mold and poured in the mix. I left it to steam for 1 1/4 hours.
Mrs. W. H. Bowlby was Lissie Hespeler. She married Ward Hamilton Bowlby in 1861. She is one of the oldest contributors to the cook book since in 1906 she is in her sixties. In 1911 according to the census the couple live at 221 King street with two servants and Mr. Bowlby is listed as a barrister.
This pudding would probably have turned out fine if I was more patient. Instead I turned it out of the mold far too soon. I ended up with a puddle of hot custard. Clearly the instructions lacked a few things! At least that’s the excuse I’m using. I tasted the puddle and it tasted like a basic custard. I’m not sure that it would have held its shape even when cold but it is possible. I think this pudding is perfect for the Bowlby household. This is a prosperous family so Pudding Celeste would sound and look a little fancier than the usual dish of custard. Also it would be easy to eat and digest for this older couple.
Mrs. W. H. Bowlby
1 pint milk, 2 heaping tablespoons ground rice flour, 2 ounces butter, 2 ounces white sugar, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon essence of vanilla. Put the milk on stove to boil about minutes, keep a little of the pint of milk to mix with rice flour, butter, sugar, essence, add these to the boiling milk and let boil about 2 minutes. Keep stirring all the time. When this is nearly cold add the yolks of the eggs well beaten, add the whites of eggs last just before steaming, steam 1 1/4 hours. Turn out of pudding mould and sere with cream carmel or white sauce.