Showing posts with label Pudding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pudding. Show all posts

Friday, November 11, 2016

Martha Jefferson's Chicken Pudding

Sometime in the past year or two, in my museum wanderings, I came upon The Early American Cookbook, by Dr. Kristie Lynn and Robert W. Pelton (originally published in 2002). It’s a slender volume filled with somewhat modernized versions of recipes by cooks in America, starting with the 18th century, featuring recipes of moderately famous people accompanied by brief biographies. It’s a surprisingly diverse collection of recipes, and it’s a wonder that they’ve all survived.

Many of the recipes will be familiar to modern cooks, some less so. I thought this one sounded interesting, although it needed a bit of tweaking. I love that Thomas Jefferson himself recorded his fondness for this particular dish. The “pudding” part is a little misleading, since it’s chicken covered with batter and baked in the oven, but the result is in fact soft and “pudding-y.”

One issue in recreating this recipe is finding a three-pound chicken—I have trouble finding a pair of breasts at my market that weigh that little. But then I had a brainstorm: Cornish game hens.

If you’re really interested, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about them: “In the United States, a Cornish game hen, also sometimes called a Cornish hen, poussin, Rock Cornish hen, or simply Rock Cornish, is a hybrid chicken sold whole. Despite the name, it is not a game bird. Rather, it is a broiler chicken, the most common strain of commercially raised meat chickens. Though the bird is called a "hen", it can be either male or female. A Cornish hen typically commands a higher price per pound than typically sold chickens, despite a shorter growing span of 28 to 30 days, as opposed to 42 or more for regular chicken.”

I found two hens that totaled a bit over three pounds—not quite what the recipe called for, but there are only two of us at home to eat these, and the recipe called for multiple pieces of chicken, spread out evenly in a pan. I voted for the little hens as closer in spirit to the original. If you want to make the dish, you can buy whichever parts suit your fancy.

The authors report that Thomas Jefferson believed that this was the best chicken dish his wife ever cooked. You be the judge!

Martha Jefferson’s Chicken Pudding
The chicken:

2 chickens, 3 pounds each
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Cut up the chickens. Wash and skin the chicken pieces. Put the pieces into a large kettle with the butter, salt and pepper and add enough water (or chicken stock) to cover. Bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the kettle and set aside to cool. Reserve the cooking water for gravy. 

The batter:

4 cups whole milk

3 cups flour
3 Tblsp butter, melted
4 eggs, well beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp cream of tartar

Blend all the ingredients together well.

Spread the chicken pieces in a single layer in the bottom of a large buttered baking pan. Pour the batter over this, using only enough to cover the tops of the pieces with a thin layer. (In fact, this batter recipe turned out to be the right amount for the chicken.)

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour. The “pudding” will rise and brown on the top.

The gravy:

1 egg, well beaten
1 Tblsp flour
1 Tblsp fresh parsley, chopped

Reserved stewing water/stock (the amount shown above measured 4 cups)

Add the beaten egg to the stew water (this should not be hot or you’ll end up with scrambled egg). Stir well, then slowly add the flour until it thickens. Stir in the parsley. Bring to a quick boil then reduce the heat and cook over low heat for a few minutes (to cook the flour).

Distribute the chicken pieces on plates and pour some of the gravy over them. Serve hot (while thinking about Thomas Jefferson, of course).

I'm kind of between books right now. Search for the Dead, the fifth Relatively Dead book, came out in time for Halloween (barely!), but the next new one (Cruel Winter, the fifth County Cork book) won't be out until next April, and the next Orchard Mystery doesn't even have a cover or a title yet. But of course you can purchase any or all of my books at any time--wonderful holiday presents for a voracious mystery reader!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cooking With Kids--Chocolate Pudding Cake

From Peg Cochran

My four-year-old granddaughter recently had a "sleepover" at Grandma and Pop-Pop's house.  She loves to help me in the kitchen (even emptying the dishwasher!  Go figure) so I wanted to have a baking project for us to do together.  This cake is super easy, and she was able to help with most of the steps.  And even though it's called chocolate pudding cake, it's sophisticated enough for company.  When baked, you have a delicious, chewy, almost brownie-like cake with what is more chocolate sauce than pudding.  It is delicious with ice cream, and you can spoon the "pudding" over the ice cream.  It's somewhat like those volcano cakes but without all that work.

I used Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa powder in this, and I think it made it better than when I've used the milk chocolate version.  I suppose you could splurge and get a tin of one of those really high-end cocoa powders because I think you will want to make this a lot!  Served in a pretty glass, it would be the perfect end to a dinner party.  

The batter for the cake part is much thicker than a typical cake batter.  Even thicker than brownie batter.  The directions said to smooth it in the pan with an offset spatula, but we ended up using our hands to pat it into place.  I don't know if that was a result of our using Splenda instead of sugar in the cake or not.  It certainly didn't detract from the deliciousness of the final product!


3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups HOT water

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees


Whisk together the sugar flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Stir in milk, butter and vanilla (hint: don't use the whisk to stir it because it will all stick to it--trust me.)

"Pour" (???) the batter into an ungreased 9" square baking pan.  (It will not come close to pouring--it will fall out of the mixing bowl in a clump.)  Level it with an offset spatula (use your hands to pat it into place in the pan.)

Whisk together the sugars and cocoa and sprinkle evenly over the batter.  Pour the hot water on top but DO NOT STIR!

Bake approximately 30 minutes (my oven runs hot and yours may differ). It should look like an undercooked brownie with delicious chocolate sauce bubbling up on top.  Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes (if your husband and/or grandchildren can wait that long).  Serve by spooning the "sauce" over the cake.  A scoop of ice cream is really the icing on the cake (pun intended.)  

PS We also made "campfire stew" together and she had a blast.  It's a very kid-friendly dish.  Recipe here.  

Bon appétit!

Wearing Grandma's glasses (upside down!) to read the recipe

Dough is very stiff so you will have to put some elbow grease into mixing it.

It's probably easier to pat mixture into pan and smooth out.

Don't forget to lick the spoon! Note she has tucked the glasses into her shirt like
Grandma does!

Sprinkle sugars on top then pour the hot water over all but do not mix.

Bubbly, gooey and delicious!

Serve with a scoop of ice cream if desired.

Out now for all e-readers!

Stop by my web site for a visit or my Facebook Page or chat with me on twitter @pegcochran.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Pudding Parfaits

I have taken some good natured teasing about some of my Halloween dishes. The mere picture of my Chicken Scary-aki, for instance, is rumored to have sent grown men screaming from the room. I don't think my vampire cupcake sent anyone into a panic, but you never know.

So for Halloween this year, I tried to come up with something a little less gruesome. It seemed to me that Halloween was always a very busy late afternoon and evening at our house when I was growing up. Preparing the candy ready for the trick-or-treaters, feeding everyone, getting costumes on. There was the inevitable argument about not wearing a coat or hat that would spoil the costume and then friends usually joined us for the big house-to-house event, so guests added a whole other dimension to Halloween night.

The point is, that unless you're fabulously organized, Halloween might be a bit of a rush in your household, too. So I tried to come up with something that can be made rather quickly, and the result is a Halloween Pudding Parfait. I really love the colors. I think they're pretty enough to offer to adults at a Halloween dinner party, and who doesn't love pudding?

If you're not inclined to make your own pudding, I think you could accomplish this with ready made pudding, food coloring and whipped cream. It shouldn't take long to assemble them. They look best in a V-shaped glass, like these parfaits, but really, you can use any shape glass. I do recommend using one with a rather wide mouth, though. A tulip champagne glass, for instance, would be very pretty, but you would have to pipe everything into the glasses, which would eat up time. As it is, I piped the whipped cream into the bottoms because they were too narrow for a spoon. But I spooned the rest in.

Use your finger to mash each layer down a little bit. I have air holes in my first ones. They don't matter of course, but they're prettier without them. I'm including my favorite chocolate and vanilla pudding recipes, but feel free to use your favorites, whether they are homemade or from a mix.

You could easily substitute an orange layer for the gold layer that I have, or skip the chocolate (did I hear gasps?) and go with traditional orange, yellow and white like candy corn.

I loved the pictures of Tonka and the Maffini princesses in their costumes, pained expressions and all. I figured it was time a feline showed up in costume. I don't think Mochie minded the mouse hat so much but he thought it was undignified for a cat to pretend to be a mouse. Felines!

Chocolate Pudding
(modified from Have Your Cake and Eat It Too, by Susan G. Purdy

2 cups nonfat milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons unsweetened powdered cocoa
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 - 2 tablespoons butter

1. Pour the milk into a Pyrex measuring cup.

2. Combine the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in the pot. Whisk together and get rid of any lumps. Use the whisk like a spoon, it’s just more efficient in breaking up the lumps.

3. Pour the cold milk into the pot and whisk until blended.

(Note that you still haven't turned on the stove!)

4. Measure the corn syrup in the same Pyrex cup. Add to the pot and whisk in.

5. Turn the burner to medium high and bring to a gentle boil, using the whisk as a spoon and stirring. You may need to turn down the heat when it begins to bubble. Cook so it gently bubbles, stirring with the whisk for one minute. It will thicken.

6. Remove from heat temporarily.

7. Break the egg into the same Pyrex cup and whisk with a small whisk (or a fork).

Drop a tiny amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg and whisk immediately to temper it. Add a little bit more and whisk. (This is so the egg won’t seize up and cook when it’s added to the warm liquid.)

8. Add the egg to the milk mixture and whisk in.

9. Bring to a gentle boil again and let cook for one minute, stirring the whole time.

10. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the butter.

1234 Vanilla Pudding
1 egg
2 cups of skim or non-fat milk
1/3 cup sugar (if you're watching sugar, you can take out a teaspoon or two)
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
dash of salt
turmeric (roughly 3/4 teaspoon) or food coloring

Place the corn starch, sugar, and dash of salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Using a whisk, mix the dry ingredients. Pour the cold milk over the dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, blend them.  (You're not using the whisk to whisk, just to blend and stir.)  Crack the egg into the empty milk measuring cup and whisk (if you don't have a tiny whisk, use a fork) thoroughly.  

Turn on the burner to medium high.  Stir the milk mixture with the whisk to be sure the mixture doesn't burn.  You may need to turn the heat back a bit when it begins to bubble.  Stirring the whole time, let bubble softly for one minute.  Remove from heat.  

Drop a few drops of the hot mixture into the egg and whisk.  Add a few more drops and whisk again to temper the egg.  Add the egg to the milk mixture and whisk to blend.  Stirring continuously, add the turmeric until it's the shade you want, bring it back to a gentle boil and cook for one minute.

Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and butter and stir to mix.

Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the cream. When it begins to take shape, add the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until it holds a shape.

candy corn

Pipe or spoon whipped cream into the bottom of each glass. 

Spoon vanilla pudding in, pressing down gently to mash out air holes Spoon chocolate pudding on top. Garnish with candy corn if desired.