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Orange pudding for cake and pie lovers

Recipe: Another vintage find for family gatherings

Orange pudding has a meringue topping, similar to lemon meringue pie. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

This vintage dessert is part cake, part pie, which makes it a "Different Orange Pudding."

I found this golden oldie in my great-grandmother's recipe box, the same resource that yielded "Asparagus a la Sacramento." The pudding recipe was clipped from a magazine, using the same format as the asparagus.

Attributed to "Mrs. R.P.O., Yuba City," the original recipe appeared in Sunset magazine in spring 1937. It was like no pudding recipe I had ever read, orange or not.

This is how Mrs. R.P.O. introduced Different Orange Pudding:
"This old-time yet little-known pudding is just as happy a choice for spring or summer luncheon or dinner dessert, for company or family, as it is for fall or winter use. Though inexpensive, it looks and tastes expensive! Best of all, it may -- in fact, should -- be made well in advance of serving time. First, make a simple cake."

"Wait a minute!" I said out loud. "You have to bake a cake before you make the pudding?!"

That nixed the recipe right there; if I was going to bake a cake, I was going to eat it, too.

But then I realized: This recipe was written before the proliferation of box mixes or ready-made supermarket baked goods. What if I already had extra cake? That made this pudding a resourceful way of re-using leftovers.

I substituted half a yellow cake (one 9-inch layer) for the base.
A thin layer of meringue conceals the mess underneath.

The orange sauce is like lemon pie filling, only orange. Poured over the cake pieces, the thick sauce created something similar to a dump cake, but creamier. The toasted meringue concealed the delicious mess underneath.

Once I assembled it, I recognized Different Orange Pudding as something that occasionally made an appearance at family get-togethers during my childhood: A dessert for cake and pie lovers!

Mrs. R.P.O. added, "A sprinkling of coconut may be added before the meringue is put on. For an extra fancy touch, the meringue may be garnished with orange sections -- free of membrane, of course -- rolled in granulated sugar."

Here's the adapted recipe:

Different Orange Pudding
Serves 10-12 generously
1 (9-inch round or 10-inch loaf) yellow cake, unfrosted
For sauce:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
Grated rind of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup cold water
1-1/2 cups boiling water
Juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Orange sections (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter a large shallow glass or eathernware baking dish (10-by-10-inch or 9-by-13-inch preferably).

Break cake into pieces into the prepared dish. Set aside.

Prepare sauce. In the top of a large double boiler over water, mix 1-1/2 cups sugar, flour, grated orange rind and salt. Add the cold water and stir until smooth. Pour in the boiling water, stirring constantly until smooth and starting to thicken.

On medium heat, let the sauce cook over hot water, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until pudding consistency. Stir in orange and lemon juices

Beat egg yolks, saving the whites for the meringue. Stir egg yolks into the sauce and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with 6 tablespoons of sugar until stiff.

Pour hot sauce over the cake pieces. Sprinkle coconut over the top. Spread the egg white meringue over the pudding, allowing for a little space around the edges.

The pudding serves 10 to 12 generously.
In preheated 325-degree oven, bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Serve warm or room temperature, with or without whipped cream.


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For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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