Waldorf Pudding

My friend Katie and I wanted to commemorate and dedicate an evening to the Titanic on the centennial anniversary of the sinking. Katie hosted dinner at her place, and I offered to make the dessert. Our menu matched the dishes served in the First Class Dining Room on April 14, 1912. I chose to make the Waldorf Pudding and the Eclairs.

Waldorf Pudding is not a well known recipe. I found this one in the book Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner. The book states that the real recipe does not exist today, however this recipe is created using the known ingredients and descriptions. 

2 large tart apples, peeled

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger

1 tbsp. butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups milk

4 egg yolks, beaten

Pinch finely ground nutmeg

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup toasted walnuts, halved

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel and thinly slice the apples. Place them in a bowl and stir in golden raisins, lemon juice and crystallized ginger. 

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apple mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or when the apples begin to caramelize, stirring often. 

Remove apples from heat, and spread in the bottom of a 10-inch baking dish. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a light simmer. As the milk is heating, beat the egg yolks slightly in a heatproof bowl. Whisking the eggs constantly, pour in a small amount of milk. This step is important, you do not want the hot milk to cook the eggs. 

Whisk in all the milk slowly, then the remaining sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the apples. 

Place the baking dish in a large roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to cover the sides. This is an important step for making any kind of custard. It keeps the temperature regulated on the bottom and sides so the custard sets evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the sides are set, but the center is still wobbly. Sprinkle walnuts on the top, and cool to room temperature and serve. 

I loved this dessert, it was unique and refreshing. The tart apples mixed with the lightly sweetened custard perfectly, and the crunch of the walnuts rounded out the texture in every bite. This is a great dessert after a big meal. Also, I candied my walnuts, for added sweetness. 

Vanilla Eclairs

One would think that eclairs and cream puffs would be difficult to make. On the contrary, they are actually fairly easy and fun. I made these eclairs for a Titanic Centennial Dinner Party along with Waldorf Pudding. Both desserts were served as the 10th course on April 14, 1912 in the First Class Dining Room. This recipe makes roughly a dozen shells, however it depends on how big you make each shell. 

Pastry Shell

1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet, or 2 small ones. In a heavy saucepan, boil the water and butter. Turn the heat to low and add the flour and salt. Vigorously hand mix with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to pull from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.

Add eggs, one at a time, vigorously beating by hand after each egg is added. 

Drop by spoonful, or fill pastry bag fitted with large round tip (I used #10) with dough and pipe onto baking sheet in 1” by 4” strips. 

They look a little weird, but they will look better after baking :) Place the tray in the oven and bake at 450 degree for 15 minutes. Turn the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. 

Filling

1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

2 cups cold milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the pudding mix and the milk for 2 minutes. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until peaks form, then add in the sugar and vanilla. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding. 

Slice each shell on the side and spoon enough filling into each one. 

Chocolate Topping

2 ounces semisweet chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons hot water

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat.Add the sugar and vanilla. The mixture will be stiff. Add water one tablespoon at a time, and stir until the chocolate is the desired consistency. Spread or drizzle over each shell immediately. Chill until ready to serve. 

These eclairs are so simple and delicious. Light and airy, with a creamy vanilla filling. I would like to try them with a fruit and cream filling, that would be a perfect breakfast pastry. 

Titanic Cupcakes

I had this brilliant idea for Titanic themed cupcakes. Using a Twinkie, Tootsie Rolls, and chocolate frosting I could create commemorative cakes. Unfortunately, my idea did not come to fruition. 

The Tootsie Rolls inserted into the holes in the Twinkie, that worked. It looks like a ship. Dunking the Twinkie into the melted chocolate was the complicated and very messy part. Only a few were ‘acceptable’, and I gave up quickly. I am sure there is a way to make these work, however I was lacking time and energy. 

In no way do I mean these cupcakes to be disrespectful. The Titanic was a horrible disaster that will never be forgotten. My intent was to bring these to a Centennial dinner party that a friend is hosting tonight. Instead, I am about to head into my kitchen to make chocolate and vanilla eclairs and chocolate mousse, the dessert that was served in the First Class dining room 100 years ago tonight.