Monday, November 7, 2011

Aunt Petunia's Pudding

Who could ever forget the glorious pudding Dobby sends crashing down on the head of Mrs. Mason, resulting in Harry's first letter from Mafalda Hopkirk:

"On top of the fridge stood tonight's pudding: a huge mound of whipped cream and sugared violets" (Chamber of Secrets 10).

In her cookbook, Dinah Bucholz decided that Aunt Petunia's pudding was an English Strawberry Trifle. That is the recipe we shall use. But be advised, it's rather involved, and must chill overnight before it is completed. I might suggest waiting until the weather warms up again before you enjoy this one, as ripe strawberries are a little difficult to find (and quite pricey) in November.

For English Strawberry Trifle, You Will Need:
1 loaf yellow cake, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and sliced into 1/8" thick slices
Whipped cream
1 Tbs toasted almonds or sugared violets

For Yellow Loaf Cake, You Will Need:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick  (8Tbs) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1.5 tsp vanilla
1.2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour an 8.5 X 4.5 loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping the sides as necessary.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until combined.
5. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

6. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour, and using the slowest speed on your mixture, scarping down the sides as necesary. Take care to not over mix. The batter will be very wet.

7. Scrape the batter unto the prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until the cake feels firm when touched lightly in the center, or a toothpick comes out clean. Note: these two indicators don't equal the same cooking time. I ended up cooking my loaf probably around 75 minutes, and it was still a little squishy in the center. It's possible that I over mixed the batter or something, because my final product was super dense and wet in the middle.

8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Then slice it up!

For the Custard, You Will Need:
1.5 cups whole milk, plus 1/2 cup heavy cream (or 2 cups whole milk)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (divided)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 stick butter, BUT ONLY if not using any heavy cream

1. Combine the milk and heavy cream, 1/4 cup of the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small saucepan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

3. Heat the milk mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until hot but not bubbling. Reduce the heat to low.
4. Pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture in a slow stream unto the egg yolk mixture while whisking quickly, to temper the yolks.

5. Pour the yolk mixture slowly back into the saucepan while stirring constantly.

6. Return to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Handle gently, as too-vigorous stirring will destroy the thickening power of the cornstarch.
7. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla (and the butter, if using). If you'd like smooth custard, strain through a sieve into a bowl (I like lumpy custard). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

To Create "Aunt Petunia's English Strawberry Trifle":
1. Place the cake slices on a cutting board and trim off the crusts (I left mine on...)
2. Spread half the slices with the jam and top with the remaining slices. I recommend really slathering it on there!

3. Cut the jam sandwiches into 2" squares and layer the sandwiches in the bottom of a round glass serving dish. Cut the remaining sandwiches into small pieces to fill any gaps.

4. Spread the custard over the cake layer.

5. Line the dish around the perimeter with strawberry slices, then pile the remaining slices in the center.

6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
7. Remove the plastic wrap and spread the whipped cream on top of the trifle, completely covering all the strawberries. As you can see, I used "Fat Free Whipped Cream." I was intrigued. It was a failure and melts almost instantly. Suck it up and use the full-fat version. Or even better, make it yourself!

8. Decorate with almonds or sugared violets if you have them.
Serves 8 to 10.

This pudding is pretty delicious. Sort of like Strawberry Shortcake on crack... I think if I were to make it again, I would start with a store-bought loaf of pound cake... and obviously real whipped cream. However you choose to make it, enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great! The version I grew up with is based on a Swiss Roll - that's a sponge cake baked flat, spread with jam then rolled up. This is sliced and put in a dish, then moistened with sweet sherry. Jelly (jell-o) is made up and poured over, and left to set; the custard is poured on (don't you have Bird's Custard?) and when that's set you add your cream, chopped angelica, silver balls, hundreds-and-thousands, sugar flowers, glace cherries.......enjoy!