Katie Maxwell, Visitor Services and Design Coordinator
While researching 19th-century culinary ephemera, I came across this advertisement for corn starch:
Below Mr. Kingsford’s claims of perfection, there is a recipe for “A Plain Oswego Pudding.” So far, all the recipes I’ve made have come from 19th-century cookbooks or William Woys Weaver’s 35 Receipts from “The Larder Invaded,” but I’m curious how this one will turn out, even if I don’t have the Oswego brand.
Here is the recipe:
One quart of Milk–five tablespoonful of Corn Starch–four ounces of sugar. Heat the Milk and Sugar (with a piece of Lemon rind) to boiling ; then add the Corn Starch, it having been previously well dissolved in a part of the milk; boil two minutes, stirring it briskly, take out the Lemon rind, and pour the Pudding into moulds, cups, or a dish. When cold, turn it out with any kind of cold stewed Fruits, Preserves, or Jellies to be poured over and around the Pudding, as a sauce.
Let’s separate out those ingredients:
1 quart milk
5 tbsp sugar
Strip of lemon rind
Optional: fruits, preserves, jelly, or other toppings
This recipe does not necessarily list the steps in order so I’m doing the second step first:
Corn Starch, it having been previously well dissolved in a part of the milk;
I whisk the cornstarch into one ladleful of milk. Now I’m ready to:
Heat the Milk and Sugar (with a piece of Lemon rind) to boiling ;
Usually recipes say to simmer milk, not boil it. Oh well.
then add the Corn Starch, […] ; boil two minutes, stirring it briskly,
The cornstarch is certainly thickening the milk mixture, but it doesn’t seem smooth, no matter how thoroughly I whisk.
take out the Lemon rind, and pour the Pudding into moulds, cups, or a dish.
Unfortunately this pudding has an undesirable lumpy texture, so I’m taking the liberty of adding a step: straining.
Some of the sugar clumped together and browned during the initial boiling process, and I had trouble integrating the cornstarch mixture. I’m hoping that by straining it, I can achieve a smoother texture.
It looks a little better. I don’t have a mold, so a glass bowl will have to do.
After a few hours in the fridge, the pudding has chilled and set.
When cold, turn it out with any kind of cold stewed Fruits, Preserves, or Jellies to be poured over and around the Pudding, as a sauce.
I am using some defrosted blueberries.
The flavor is fine if a bit boring, however the straining process did not completely smooth the texture. It’s still a bit lumpy. I think if I had whisked the milk over the heat from the very beginning, that may have helped, and who knows? Maybe Kingsford’s Oswego brand corn starch would have made all the difference. Currently, I cannot recommend this recipe.