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Puddings In General- The Traditional Scottish Method

Margaret Dods, The Cook and Housewives Manual, 1829.

Any tolerable cook, however young in the art, may compound a good pudding by attending to the following simple rules and plain directions. Attention is all that is required, and a little manual dexterity in turning the pudding out of the dish or cloth in which it has been dressed. Let the several ingredients be each fresh and good of its kind, as one bad article, particularly eggs, will taint and destroy the whole composition.

Have the pudding-cloths washed, boiled in wood-ashes, and always laid by quite dry after using. Puddings ought to be boiled in an open pot, in plenty of water, which must be kept on a quick boil; or baked in a quick but not scorching oven.

A pudding, in which there is bread, must be tied up loosely, to allow room for swelling.

A batter-pudding ought to be tied up firmly.

Eggs for puddings must be used in greater quantity when of small size. The yolks and whites, if the pudding is wanted particularly light and nice, should be strained after being separately well beat.

The several ingredients, after being well stirred together, should have a little time to stand, that the flavours may blend. The common fault of boiled puddings, which are often solid bodies, is being underdone.

Baked puddings are as often scorched.

Puddings may be steamed with advantage, placing the mould or basin in the steamer.

When the pudding-cloths are to be used, dip them in water, and dredge them with flour.

When a pudding begins to set in the oven, stir it up to prevent the fruit, &c. from settling down to the bottom; and if boiled, turn over the cloth in the pot for the same reason, and also to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

As the water wastes, fill up the pot with boiling water. When the pudding is taken out of the pot, dip it quickly into cold water, and set it in a basin of its size. It will then more readily separate from the cloth without breaking.

Some cooks, in seasons of scarcity, recommend snow in place of eggs. We do not pretend to understand the philosophy of this prescription; to be sure snow, as it falls, does look something like beat white of eggs, and from the quantity of air contained in it, may help the pudding to rise. This is all that it can do.

Small beer, when fresh and yeasty, is a better substitute; but the pudding or dumpling should be allowed to rise for some time after the beer is put in, before it is cooked.

Care must be taken to mix batter-puddings very smoothly. Let the flour be gradually mixed with a very little of the milk, as in making mustard or starch, and afterwards strain the batter through a coarse sieve.

Raisins, prunes, and damsons, for puddings, must be carefully stoned; or sultanas may be used in place of raisins. Currants must be picked, and plumped in hot water, or, which is better, rubbed in a cloth and plumped before the fire; almonds must be blanched and sliced; and in mixing grated bread, pounded biscuit, &c. with milk, pour the milk on hot, and cover the vessel, which is both better and easier than boiling.

Mutton-suet for puddings is lighter than that of beef; but marrow, when it can be obtained, is better than either.

A baked pudding for company has often a paste -border or a garnishing of blanched and sliced almonds about it; if boiled, it may also be garnished in various ways. The best seasoning for batter puddings is conserve of Seville orange, lemon-rind, and orange-flower-water. Spirits, and even wine, are every day less used, both from taste and economy.

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