Saturday, May 9, 2015


MJ and Victoria here-- with an treat from the past for 
Retro Mother's Day Week


MJ's Mum and Victoria's Gram was not only a great cook but a very glamorous one. We're still searching for the lost photo of her in the tiny kitchen in her black sheath dress with the pearls. MJ's friends used to come by just to gawk. Alas our photos are still playing hide and seek after the big move. Some day! In the meantime, we think Mum/Gram was really rocking this feathered hat.

We both remember her fondly for fun, parties and great food. Our house was full of books and laughter. And she was famous for her hats.  Here's a bit of a crumbled newspaper article from a Mother's Day event at our church. You have to love small communities: everything makes the paper. You will see who has the best hat, although MJ loved her little cloche, it wasn't in the running!

 Part of the enjoyment of this retro week was scoping out old photos and looking back.  As you can see, Victoria was close to Gram.

Sharing secrets at Christmas back in the day!

On vacation - no hats

This little recipe for lemon pudding cake is one that the Maffini kids loved when they were growing up. And even those two well-known fusspots, MJ and her brother, JD,  liked it a generation earlier. Poor mum. Life couldn't have been easy with those two.


So,  MJ's mum made this dessert fairly often back in the dim mists of time. It didn't even seem to have a name, except for lemon pudding cake. But it's a recipe that comes up in conversation quite often  A year or so ago a cousin was reminiscing about the lemon pudding cake that her mom used to make. She could never manage to find the recipe.

MJ knew she had it, but couldn’t track it down either.  Was this going to be one of those delicious secrets that are lost forever? There are lots of recipes that a kind of like this, but she  wanted this one.  Once again, Victoria to the rescue! It turned up in her little book of Treasured Recipes under Favorite Lemon Pudding.

By the way, one of the reasons we love lemon pudding so much, is that it uses the egg separator MJ got in 1971 at a Tupperware party. How retro is that?

Since fate was kind to us, we'll share it with you.  

It makes a soft and foamy pudding with luscious lemon sauce.  If there is any sauce leftover, it is delicious on vanilla ice cream or yogurt. 

Another good thing about this recipe is that we each always have eggs, lemon, milk and sugar in our houses.  No special planning needed.

So, TA DA!  from our kitchen to yours, we give you:

Everyone’s Favorite Retro Lemon Dessert 

It's all about the eggs and the lemon.

Preheat oven to 350. 

Makes 6 servings (four in our house)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
7/8 cup sugar
1 -2  tablespoons lemon zest

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
3 egg yolks (room temperature)

3 egg whites (room temperature)
1 ½ cup milk 

Beat butter and sugar until well combined. Add lemon, zest, lemon juice, egg yolks, salt and flour. Beat until light and fluffy.  Gradually add milk and blend well. 

Beat egg whites until stiff.
 Fold into lemon mixture.  

Pour into GREASED 6-cup baking dish or casserole. 

Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until nicely brown. 

Serve at room temperature and enjoy!


Speaking of mothers and daughters, that shadowy figure Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between artist and photographer, Victoria Maffini, and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, author of three mystery series. Their book collector series blends contemporary mystery, humor and classics from the Golden Age of Detection.  Of course, there are also dogs and cats. The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow  will be followed by The Marsh Madness in September. But you can PREORDER IT NOW!

We  hang out on Mystery Lovers Kitchen on the second and fourth Saturdays every month, although sometimes we get tricky. 

We’d love it if you would friend them on  FACEBOOK

You can visit our website and sign up for the NEWSLETTER  (news, recipes, contests, and, of course, Walter).

Find out what else is new HERE on the website!


  1. I love the old pictures! The pudding looks good, too. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Elaine! We are enjoying our digital project (thanks to The Hubster) to convert our gazillion chaotic photos. It's bringing back so many memories.



  2. Such lovely old photos . . . and a lemon dessert! Thank you for sharing MJ and Victoria.

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Linda! It's been great getting to know you. Hugs. MJ

  4. What lovely pictures. In the "dim mists of time" I think some of us posed the same (pretty mom in hat holding baby, 2 siblings standing in field, great haircuts). When I look at old pictures I always see again just how pretty my mother was. Which of course explains why when my first child was old enough to talk she told her, "You can call me Pretty Grandma.

    And the dessert - lemon, yum.

    1. I love that story, Sally! Thanks for coming by and sharing. XO MJ

  5. The pictures are truly priceless. Now, at least, the digital ones usually have a date stamp to help us guess!
    Isn't lemon wonderful? It can be so simple or dress up quite elegantly.
    Great stuff!
    Happy Mother's Day weekend to all
    Regarding "life with those two"--I used to tell my mother that I wish I were a twin. She suggested that one of me was quite enough (perhaps too much?)!

    1. LOL, Libby! I think that either one of us would have been more than enough. I am glad you liked the photos and I remembered that you like lemon.



  6. Love the pictures! And the recipe sounds lovely. The treasured recipes book is charming.

    Happy Mother's Day.
    Daryl / Avery

    1. Thanks, Daryl! That little book that I copied out in the either eighties has saved our bacon many times.



  7. Wonderful post ladies--your mother/grandmother was so glamorous! love the lemon too. xoxo

    1. I loved your family pix too, Lucy. In fact the whole week was great. Thanks for the comments!



  8. A lovely post. We all have photos like these and they evoke so much memory. And the lemon pudding looks delightful, too. Happy Mother's Day!

    ~ Cleo

  9. What an elegant and lovely mother! I hope you find that feather hat somewhere. It's fabulous! Love all the photos. Thank you so much for sharing. I have never heard of this recipe and have to try it. Can't wait!