Baked Pumpkin Pudding
Laura B., an 80-year-old widow and close neighbor, 35 years ago when she was
standing on a rickety ladder in her back yard sawing a large tree limb. Her
constant companion, Prissy, an overweight and elderly English Setter, announced
my arrival with one muffled "Woof!". We three soon became friends and I enjoyed
many visits in her modest home where she often baked her own bread and
constantly pampered Prissy.
During one of our earlier visits, I had inquired delicately about the health of
her dog, but muffled my pronunciation of her dog's name - I forgot the "r".
Being the gracious host always, Laura ignored my faux pas and explained that
Prissy was a bit overweight, but otherwise healthy ... and then Laura offered
Prissy another slice of fried ham. During later visits, I enjoyed my own
servings of fried ham and home-baked bread which was pan-toasted in the same
cast iron skillet used for the ham.
I learned from my visits with Laura that age is relative - she often referred to
a younger 60-year-old neighbor as "that old woman". Perhaps not an old woman,
but I knew that this neighbor could not saw tree limbs as well as Laura ... and
probably bought bread from a grocery store.
This Baked Pumpkin Pudding recipe is my recollection - 35 years later - of her
recipe. As I recall, the recipe was simple, easy to prepare and evoked memories
of her life as a wife devoted to her hard-working husband, Levi, who frequently
hunted quail in north Texas when he was not working at the local steel mill.
Laura usually joined her husband, Prissy and two other Setters named Gal and
Mitsy for these weekend hunts. Laura usually stayed stayed close to the campsite
to prepare meals and attend to chores.
15-oz.cans canned pumpkin
cup light brown sugar, packed*
tsp pumpkin pie spice
large egg whites
cup half & half
cup low-fat milk
Decrease brown sugar to 1/3 cup for less sweetness.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar,
pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well to combine. In a medium bowl,
beat eggs then add half & half, milk and vanilla; whisk to combine.
egg mixture into pumpkin mixture and stir to combine, then whisk thoroughly.
Pour pumpkin mixture into 2 1/2 quart casserole, reduce oven to 325 degrees and
bake uncovered 1 hr. 20 min. (or until center is slightly firm – another 10-20
min.). Allow to cool, then serve warm with whipped cream and chopped walnuts.
Dark raisins may be included: soak in very hot water for 10 min., then drain
well and stir into the prepared batter just before baking.
2) For an "adult" dessert, soak raisins overnight in bourbon, rum or a liqueur
(try Drambuie), drain well and fold into the prepared batter … or fold into the
baked pudding just before serving. Soaked raisins, including the liquid, may
also be served as a topping.
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