Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pippin Puddings

Many readers may not recognize some of the dishes going into the Harvest of Souls VI feast, so I thought I would discuss some of them.

Pippin puddings are baked apples, cored and filled with a custard. The top of the apple is kept and put back on as a cover, with a cinnamon stick through the center. It is a delicious, if somewhat labor-intensive dish. We used them once for a feast of a similar size, so we know it can be done.

The recipe used is from In Service to Our Middles, the Middle Kingdom cookbook, published so many years ago that even I (ancient relic that I am) was never able to obtain a copy, and had to borrow one to photocopy. No source is given, but I'm fairly sure it is perhaps an early modern recipe, if not quite medieval, and it might be older.

We alter one point in the recipe - it calls for the entire apple to be peeled. This has never seemed necessary to me, and I have almost always prepared the dish with the skins on the apples. Saves a lot of work and seems to make no real difference. The custard calls for cream, white wine, egg yolks, sugar and ginger. It is very tasty, and quite striking in appearance.

For this feast, Her Ladyship Clarissa Wykeham has volunteered to prepare and cook the dish. If I didn't have an experienced cook to do it, I would probably have chosen something else, as this is likely to take one person a fair portion of the day, and more to the point, will have to be finished with a careful sense of timing, as cored apples can't just sit around forever waiting to be filled with custard.

In Service to Our Middles; The MidRealm Book of Foods and Feasts was edited by Duchess Caellyn Fitzhugh and published in East Lansing (Northwoods). It looks to me like a late publication from the period when Northwoods was very much the kingdom's social and arts center, in the late 70s. My photocopy has no date, but I was given the impression it had gone out of print shortly before I joined in 1982.

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