My Mother passed away almost three years ago. We shared a lot of interests and one of those was cooking. Mom was a great letter writer and I am happy that I saved the correspondence she had sent to me. She wrote about her day to day cooking, canning and baking. She always included clippings of recipes, and articles that interested her.
Since Mom grew up in the depression she never wasted anything. An example of this is a recipe she sent to me for her version of ‘Cottage Pudding’. She had written it on the cardboard that a new pair of pantyhose had been wrapped around.
As a kid I loved ‘Cottage Pudding’. When the weather was getting cooler, it was one of those comfort foods whose aroma of maple syrup combined with cake, greeted me after school. The smell of it still reminds me of home.
The word’s maple syrup and maple sugar kindle fond memories of a quieter, more relaxed time in the past. Maple syrup is a pure product that results from the efforts of many labour-intensive and time-consuming hours. Although laborious to produce, the finished product is well worth the effort.
The first time I read about maple syrup was in a letter written by William Jarvis (secretary and registrar of
) in 1793. He wrote to his father-in-law from Upper Canada Niagara, “…My cellar is stored with 3 barrels of wine, 3 of cider, 2 of apples (for my darling), and a good stock of butter. My cock-lift contains some of the finest maple sugar I ever beheld, 10,000lbs. was made in an Indian village near Michellemackinac. We have 150 lb. of it…Also plenty of good flour, cheese, coffee, loaf sugar…”
It doesn’t matter at what stage in life you are; this is a dessert that anyone can make. There are many versions of this recipe. Sometimes the cake is served warm with a lemon, chocolate or butterscotch sauce. I use my mother’s recipe.
Mom’s Cottage Pudding
Oil a 9 inch square baking pan.
Add ¾ cup of maple syrup with ¾ cup of water into a small saucepan. Bring this to a slight boil and pour it into the prepared pan.
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
½ teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Gradually add ¾ cup of milk to the above and mix well. Spoon the cake batter over the maple syrup, and bake it at an oven temp of 350 for 55-60 minutes. Serve it warm spooning the sauce over the top. Yum!
Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.
John Ed Pearce
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