Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Amber Pudding.

It goes without saying that colour is important in food. As far as vegetables are concerned, nutritionists tell us that the intensely-coloured varieties are especially good for us. As far as cooked dishes are concerned, cooks and chefs everywhere know that some colours attract and some repel. Last October we explored the themes of red, yellow, blue, and green food, and I was reminded of this when I got briefly diverted by Amber Pudding while I was deciding over yesterday’s recipe. It was rejected on the day, because it did not contain ambergris, but it is too delicious to reject utterly. Recipes for Amber Pudding appear regularly in nineteenth century cookbooks, the name coming from its beautiful golden-amber colour, which in turn comes from the butter, egg yolks, and candied orange it contains.

Golden-coloured food seems particularly appealing. Is there some sort of inherited attraction because of the long association with the ripe, golden grains that have been staple foods for our species for millenia? Or is it just a potato chips and custard thing?

Amber Pudding seems worthy of re-discovering, perhaps in the form of little tartlets for the petits fours platter at your next dinner party?

A Very Fine Amber Pudding.
Put a pound of butter into a sauce-pan, with three quarters of a pound of loaf sugar finely powdered; melt the butter, and mix well with it; then add the yolks of fifteen eggs well beaten, and as much fresh candied-orange as will add colour and flavour to it, being first beaten to a fine paste. Line the dish with paste for turning out; and when filled with the above, lay a crust over, as you would, a pie, and bake in a slow oven. It is as good cold as hot.
A new system of domestic cookery, by a Lady (M.E. Rundell) 1808

Quotation for the Day.

Custard: A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow, and the cook.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1906)

1 comment:

srhcb said...

Add 1 pound of flour and 4 tsp of baking powder to the amber pudding recipe and I'll bet you get a pretty decent approximation of an Amber Pound Cake?