A Sunny Dessert for Dreary Days

By this time of the year, I need something sunny-looking on my table because there’s no escaping the snow and day after day of below-freezing temperatures. Enter apricot pudding, a recipe I adapted from The New Thought in Cooking by Sara Treat, a booklet published by American Maize-Products Co. There is no publication date, but the company likely printed it in the 1930s to entice consumers to buy its corn oil, syrup, corn starch, and other corn-based products. The company even sponsored radio programs with Don Amaizo, a character it created who was really violinist Max Dolin, the first music director at the NBC Pacific Coast Network in San Francisco.

I adapted this recipe from the book’s spiced prune pudding, which looked easy to make, but didn’t give me the color I wanted. I pulled dried apricots from my pantry and went from there. The result needed a bit of pureeing to eliminate the chunks. To make it healthier, I omitted the whipped cream garnish and used blueberries instead for a smooth, bright dairy and gluten free antidote to winter.

Spiced Apricot Pudding (1930s)

1/2 pound dried apricots, cut into about 1/4 inch pieces

3 cups cold water

1 stick cinnamon

1 cup sugar [or less, to taste – I used about 3/4 cup]

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Whipped cream, for garnish [optional]

  1. Place the apricots in a pot and soak in cold water for 1/2 to 1 hour.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes.
  3. Pour off the cooking liquid and add boiling water to make a total of 3 cups. Add the liquid back to the pot with the apricots along with the sugar and salt. Simmer five minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the corn starch with enough cold water to make a smooth paste and slowly stir into the apricot mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
  5. Simmer 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice.
  7. Let cool slightly, then puree to eliminate large chunks of fruit. Pour into a mold or individual serving glasses. Chill thoroughly.
  8. Serve with whipped cream.


About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers. Somehow I ended up with a cooking gene that I brought with me from Richmond, Virginia to my current home in Boston, Massachusetts. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir and a novel. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and other American recipes with a past.
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