A soggy dessert recipe from Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt with a patriotic birthday cake. Source: Library of Congress

Eleanor Roosevelt with a patriotic birthday cake. Source: Library of Congress

Eleanor roosevelt pudding doneMy quest to make another U.S. President-inspired July 4 recipe started out promisingly enough when I found First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s contribution to The All American Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of Famous Persons.This book, sponsored by Floral Rebekah Lodge No. 75 in Sherman, NY, was published in 1954. Its “Famous Persons” include U.S. Senators, mayors and governors from around the U.S. (though mostly their wives contribute recipes), and, inexplicably, the president of Trefflich Wild Bird and Animal Company in New York City!

Eleanor Roosevelt book The three-ingredient Roosevelt recipe looked like a no-brainer, but alas, the directions were too cryptic. I cooked the blueberries (choosing to add the zest of 1 orange, juice from half the orange, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar), cut off the bread crusts, and layered the casserole. The result? Soggy blueberry-soaked bread. Thank goodness for ice cream to mask the mess. If anyone has suggestions for how to improve this kind of dessert, let me know. For my next act of patriotism, I’ll choose foolproof vanilla ice cream with blueberries and raspberries on top.


Eleanor Roosevelt’s Blueberry Pudding
(1950s)
Serves 8

Eleanor Roosevelt pudding 1Blueberries [I used 2 pints]
White bread [I used about 12 slices]
Cream [I recommend ice cream]
Raspberries and mint, for garnish [my additions]

Cut crusts off white bread and line a
casserole with it. Pour in cooked berries to cover bottom and place another layer of white bread on top. Place more berries and more bread continuing thus alternately until casserole is filled with berries on top. Place in the refrigerator until well chilled and serve with cream, plain or whipped.

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About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers: hamburgers shaped like squares and peanut butter sandwiches. Fast forward 100 years and 500 miles north from my hometown of Richmond, Virginia to Boston, Massachusetts. Somehow, I ended up with a cooking gene as well as an interest in history and family stories. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and stories -- and other American recipes with a past. What do you have to share?
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4 Responses to A soggy dessert recipe from Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. This is a variation on the British “Summer Pudding” which is made with white bread lining a pudding basin and filled with slightly cooked (just to bring out the juices) and sweetened berries – currants (black and red), raspberries, and even strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. It is covered with more bread slices and weighed down, refrigerated for at least 24 hours for the bread to soak up the juices and then inverted to create a mound. Served with cream. I love Summer Pudding (a beautiful, but fleeting summer treat) and I love blueberries, but I’m not sure Eleanor got the idea right: soggy bread with blueberries…hmmm.

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  2. Thanks, Debi, for the info. I will let you know if I come up with a successful summer pudding.

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