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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1031

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RECIPES FOR PUDDINGS

of milk, eggs, and a farinaceous grain or powder. The three varieties would be represented by a custard pudding, a plain rice pudding, and a cornflour or semolina pudding made with eggs. A well-made milk pudding is a palatable and usually acceptable dish, and being so easily made it is difficult to understand why they are nearly always in too dry or too liquid a condition, when the mean is so easily obtained. If a custard pudding be allowed to boil it becomes watery; if cooked too quickly, without actually boiling, it is full of holes. When the oven is too hot the pudding may be kept below boiling point by placing the dish containing it in a tin of water, to which must be added, from time to time, a little cold water to prevent it boiling. Rice pudding, or any farinaceous pudding without eggs, should first be put into a hot oven for a short time to bring the milk quickly to near boiling point, but afterwards they should be cooked as slowly as possible, in order that the grains may have ample time to swell. It is better to simmer small grains like ground rice, semolina, and fine sago in a saucepan, preferably a double one, until the substance is well-cooked. Eggs are easily digested when lightly cooked, but become insoluble when over-cooked, and for this reason they should not be added to the farinaceous preparation until it is fully cooked, and then 10 minutes baking in a moderate oven is all that is necessary to set the egg and brown the surface of the pudding. For ordinary purposes skimmed milk may be used, but the fat or cream of which it has been deprived should be replaced by a little butter or finely-chopped suet, the proportion of the latter being ½ a tablespoonful to 1 pint of milk.

Batter.—Whether the batter is intended for a pudding or fritters, certain points need careful attention.

1. It must be mixed as smoothly as possible, and this is effected by not adding much liquid until all the lumps of flour have been beaten out.

2. It should be well beaten to get the air in.

3. It should stand for at least 1 hour in order that the flour grains may swell and burst and ferment. The batter may be made more easily digestible by prolonging this process of fermentation.

4. It is usually cooked, i.e. fried, at a high temperature.

Fritters.—To successfully fry anything coated with batter the fat must be hot enough to immediately harden the surface of the beignets or fritters, and thus prevent it soaking in and making them greasy, and yet it must not be sufficiently hot to brown them before they are and well-cooked (see Notes on Frying, p. 412).

Soufflés and Soufflé-Omelets.—Moulds or tins in which soufflés are to be steamed or baked should, after being well coated with cool clarified butter, have a band of 3 or 4 folds of buttered paper tied round their rim to support the soufflé when it rises above the level of the tin. All these preparations should be made beforehand, so that the mixture may not have to stand and possibly lose some of its light-