Ozark PuddingI was flipping through an old holiday cookbook last night - I don't even know the name of the cookbook or when it was published because the cover and the first 12 pages have been long missing to the point of where I had to fashion a cover out of card stock just to preserve what was left of it. I know that based on the typeset it is pretty old, and it is some kind of holiday cookbook because it has specific sections for holidays and occasions.
This cookbook was in my mom's stuff when The Cajun and I cleaned out her house after finally selling it after she passed away, though it does have my kid sister's name in the front of it. Since neither she nor my brother were there to pack and lay claim to anything left there, I guess I own it now by default and simple possession.
Anyway, I ran across this recipe for Ozark Pudding listed in the Thanksgiving section of that holiday cookbook and it had me curious so I made it, according to the directions of this recipe. I say that because after looking on the internet I see that there are a number of variations of this dish called Ozark Pudding, so I have no idea as to the authenticity of this particular recipe I used.
It seems that people have tweaked the recipe over time to their own liking, some adding a substantial amount of flour from this recipe to make it more like a cake than a pudding; some cook it in a square pan; some poured it into a pie plate and speak of cutting it into wedges, making it more like a torte; some recipes spoke of spooning it out into a dessert bowl or martini glass, making it sound more like pudding. Some versions use pecans, some use walnuts. This version I made has it cooking in a loaf pan, though the result was not something you could slice, but came out more pudding-like and therefore had to be spooned out.
To complicate the matter further, even though there are recipes all over the net, there are very few photos of this dish with those recipes to show what that version of an Ozark Pudding looks like, nor are the directions descriptive enough to tell you what it should look like. I have no idea if this version here is indeed how it should look. Perhaps someone from South Carolina or my friend Rebel who actually lives in the Ozarks will stop by and help to shed some light on these mysteries! At any rate, I present you with this version from this cookbook the way it turned out for me - authentic or not.
One source, All American Desserts by Judith Fertig claims that this dessert originated with the French Protestant Huguenots who fled religious persecution in France to settle in Charleston, South Carolina, taking with them recipes for a gateau aux noisettes or "cake with hazelnuts." Hazelnuts were not readily available in the Carolinas, but pecans were, so pecans were substituted. This version, apparently more cake-like, became known as Huguenot Torte. As southerners began to make their way westward to settle in the Ozarks of southern Missouri and in northeastern Arkansas, they substituted black walnuts and Huguenot torte became Ozark pudding.
When Winston Churchill joined President Harry Truman in Fulton Missouri in 1946 and gave his “Iron Curtain” speech, this dessert was on Bess Truman’s dinner menu.
I can't tell you if this is authentic. I can't tell you if this is what Ozark Pudding is supposed to look like. I can tell you that as this version baked, the flour sort of rose to the top, creating a crust on the very top, sort of like a sugar cookie crust. Underneath was a gooey and super sweet filling that is very reminiscent of a pecan pie filling, despite the fact that indeed there are also apples in there, so maybe it's more like a cross between pecan pie filling and apple pie filling. I did see some recipes on the net that included spices that would typically be found in an apple pie.
I can tell you that - authentic or not - this version was simply delicious.
Serve it warm and with a dollop of whipped cream on top, or if you can't be bothered with whipping cream at the moment, I'm pretty sure a little drizzle of heavy cream poured over the top would be equally good. Some vanilla ice cream would be most excellent.
Recipe: Ozark Pudding©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Whisk together in a separate bowl the flour, salt and baking powder; add the pecans and apples to the flour mixture. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Place into a greased loaf pan* and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until top is browned. The flour will create a crust similar to a sugar cookie, that will rise to the top and then fall some. This version made in a loaf pan came out more like a pudding and had to be served by spooning it out. Definitely serve it warm, scooping into dessert bowls or tall stemware, and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Some versions enhanced the whipped cream with rum. I did not.
*The recipe called for a loaf pan which is what I used, but apparently you can successfully use a pie plate or a 9" square pan also, adjusting time down as needed. The results this way may be different from that pictured above.
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