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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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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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