Sunday, February 23, 2014

Retro hot fudge water pudding

It's strange to see a revolution take place in Kiev, to see the central square of a city burn and to know that citizens have been killed by their government's snipers. Strange to see an arrested former prime minister released from prison, and to know a current dictator has tried to flee the capital but has apparently been stopped. We look at the photo of the priest standing amid the smoke with what looks like a knight's shield on his back. Below it we joke that he is a "level 4 cleric," or "came to preach Jesus and whip ass and he's all out of Jesus." Here are people, strangely, who have made and lived through something that the revolutionists in Paris did, two hundred years ago; something like what our own founding fathers did, too. See the photos of them massing tensely a few days ago, they all in their thrown-together clothes and hats and helmets looking like something out of a Bruegel painting. The survivors will talk about these days all their lives. In his book The Closing of the American Mind (1987) Allan Bloom once wrote that the three most transcendent moments in the human experience are the creative process, consummated love, and victory in a just war.

Below, obviously the plate is prettier than the piece of Retro Hot Fudge Water Pudding. I thought we might need something to snack on while we're reading about Kiev, and, well, I still had the picture.

We get this recipe from Gold Medal Jubilee Select Recipes 1880-1955, the same little pamphlet that gave us the Buttermilk Spice Cake of a few days ago. I've called it Hot Fudge Water Pudding to draw attention to the last ingredient required, which is one and three-quarters cups of hot water, poured right on the batter before it goes into the oven. It's the kind of recipe twist that just shrieks, "try me!"

The pamphlet groups this pudding into the chapter "Popular recipes of 1940-1950," and explains that, being a sort of chocolate upside-down cake, it may constitute the original upside down cake of any variety. "In the old days," the authors say, "women poured heavy molasses in the bottom of the pan" to make the cake. Pouring hot water over a brown sugar topping mimics molasses.

The cake is by no means gorgeous to look at, but it's fun to put together and not too sweet.

Hot fudge water pudding

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Set out a 9 x 9 x 2 baking pan. In a bowl, mix:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
Stir in:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Blend in 1 cup chopped nuts. Spread in the pan (the batter is thick). In another bowl, mix:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
Sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan. Then, pour over the batter 1 and 3/4 cups hot water. Bake 45 minutes. The cake mixture will rise to the top and the chocolate sauce will sink to the bottom. Serve warm, with or without whipped cream.

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