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Orange pudding for cake and pie lovers

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

Recipe: Another vintage find for family gatherings

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

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.

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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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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