Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cottage Pudding: the Taste of Memories

When I was a child, my mother sometimes allowed my sisters and me to bake, or to make desserts. For a short while we had a "cooking class" taught by a friend of our mother, who taught us the basics of baking. We had great fun but the classes ended after too short a time, probably because the cost of ingredients were just too much for the family food budget.

One dessert we learned to make was Cottage Pudding. It was a sort of heavy cake with a translucent lemon sauce served warm over it. That dessert remained in my mind for years but I never found the recipe for it, and my mother had no recollection of where we got it when I asked her about it years later.

When Mom passed away, some of my sisters and I helped Dad sort and clear up the kitchen. Mom loved to cook but organization? Not so much her thing. There were pans of every kind, gadgets and tools and cookbooks. LOTS of cookbooks. One of them was an old, beat-up Betty Crocker with the red-and-white patterned cover. And in that book, I found the recipe I'd been looking for.

I wrote the recipe out carefully because one of my other sisters wanted to keep the book--she had so many memories of using it. So I copied the recipe into a little notebook I carried with me. The next 10 months were a blur for me of work, storytelling and driving back and forth to Virginia to take my turn at caring for Dad.  And then Dad died too, and life was very dark for a while.

Somewhere in all of that I misplaced the little notebook and could not even remember what notebook I'd used to copy down the recipe. But the other day as I was sorting out a drawer in my desk a little book fell out and pages scattered on the floor. And I found my recipe.

Today I tried making Cottage Pudding for the first time in over 50 years. It is not quite how I remember it--my cake came out a bit heavier than I remember it, but the lemon sauce was perfect. It was like jumping in a time machine and going back in time to the large table surrounded by my brothers and sisters, everyone scraping the last of the lemon sauce out of their bowls.

When I make this again, I will use the usual method of cake-making, adding wet and dry ingredients alternatively and beating them in. I believe that might improve the texture. As it is, it is delicious. Larry and I both had two helpings. So here's the recipe for you to try. If you do try it, tell me what you think. I'm curious to know if others like it as well as I do.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Quinn said...

I'm making a note about this one, Sue - thanks!

Michelle said...

I teach 2nd grade and we have a custodian who is a wonderful, old time cook. He cooks for us during holidays, etc... He makes a cake that is similar with a sauce he calls, "sop". Again, similar and served hot. Delicious.

Granny Sue said...

Quinn, I think you'll like it. And that lemon sauce could be used a lot of other ways too.

Granny Sue said...

Michelle, maybe his mother had the same cookbook :)

Brig said...

I enjoyed this story, and I have that same Betty Crocker cookbook. That cookbook is in my boxes of cookbooks, I need to hunt it up, and look for the recipe. Lemon anything is one of my favorites!

Beth Brown said...

I made this for myself last night and it was absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I can hardly wait to go home this evening and have another serving.

My dad would have loved it.


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