A Crookneck, or Winter Squash Pudding
Amelia Simmons 1796
Durning the weekend we had a great fire going and I decided to bake something. I had some small pumpkins, plus more frozen, and apples. When I think of pumpkins I think of Amelia Simmons. She was the first American to write a cookbook for Americans and with foods that were uniquely American.
Looking through the book I found the receipt for “A Crookneck, or Winter Squash Pudding,” at the end of the narrative on how to prepare and bake it she says – “The above receipt is a good receipt for Pumpkins, Potatoes or Yams, adding more moistening or milk and rose water, and to the two latter a few black or Lifbon currants, or dry whortleberries fcattered in, will make it better.” It is a very easy receipt and look like a yummy one too. So, with that settled, I gathered all the things I would need.
First I needed to prepare the pumpkin and apples. I pared and removed the seed and boiled them until just tender. While they boiled, I whisked together eggs and cream and added a drop or two of rose water. Then I added a tablespoon of white wine, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I whisked them together. In went a tablespoon of flour, and three tablespoons of breadcrumbs to help make the batter a thicker consistancy. The apples and punpkins were now soft, and, after draining them, I put them in a bowl with the unfrozen pumpkin I had and mashed it all together.
The cream mixture went in next and was stirred about and currants added.
With everything well mixed, it was put into a greased redware baker and placed in a warm bake kettle by the fire.
I put coals under and on top of the kettle and I turned it a half turn, every 15 minutes. It took about 45 minutes until a knife placed in the pudding came out clean. The pudding was ready to eat. While it was still warm I served it up. I liked the hint of rose water and it had just the right amount of spices. Surprising to me was that it was nothing like an interior of a pumpkin pie. The texture was different, the addition of the flour and bread crumbs almost make it like a cake. Yet it was soft and so tasty.
I have missed the opportunity to share the hearth with others and look forward to the Winter/Spring workshops. This Saturday I had a special group of docents from the Moffatt Ladd House coming to cook. This museum is my stomping ground in the off season of hearth cooking and I always look forward to seeing my co-workers and friends. They are all new to cooking on the hearth, so it was a beginner’s class, yet with a few challenges thrown in to keep them on their toes, more on the MLH workshop to come.
The Winter/Spring Workshops are filling up so, if you’re interested, let me know so I can save you a spot.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus