The days when I catered for myself, three children, four boarders and three dogs are long gone but memories of a small, steamy, productive kitchen remain. My kitchen at that time would, if squared up, have been approximately 8 feet by 8 feet in size. In fact, a marketing expert for a kitchen installation business once referred to it as a cubbyhole, not a kitchen.
However, I had the basics: stove, sink, fridge and a twin-tub washing machine that did double duty as my counter space. Meals for 8 people came out of that kitchen every day, with more on Sundays with the addition of family and friends. Everyone, of course, expected pudding after the main meal.
These traditional English puddings ranged from simple milk puddings like rice and tapioca to fruit pies with custard, the more exotic steamed sponge puddings, especially Spotted Dick, baked egg custard, crème brulee and crème caramel.
In summertime, lighter fare of jellies, fruit fools, trifles, fruit flans, crumbles and torts, lemon meringue pies and Queen of Puddings were included on the menu. Oh yes, and all this was from scratch, nothing came out of a packet.
|Queen of Puddings|
The tradition of the great English pudding faded as more and more people joined the workforce and would not spend the time on making them. Then there were all the ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ food fads which cut out the kind of fats, which science now says we need, so people stopped using butter and shredded suet in these dishes. Cheesecakes were a later addition to the dessert and pudding menu, but the household Christmas favorite, after Christmas pudding with brandy butter or Cornish clotted cream, was Bailey’s Cheesecake.
I believe everyone must be familiar with Bailey’s, that wonderful blend of Irish whiskey and cream. It’s great on its own and can be served in a variety of cocktail mixes, but it also adds a little kick to many recipes. My favorite cheesecakes are always baked cheesecakes and this is my recipe.
1 cup of coarse graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup of butter, melted
1 (15 oz) carton of ricotta cheese
1 (8 oz) package of Philadelphia cream cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup of sugar
1/3 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
1 tsp. good vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
Combine the crumbs and butter, press over the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill.
Beat together the ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, beating until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crumb base. Bake in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until firm in the middle. Cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before serving. Decorate with whipped cream swirls, topped with shaved, dark chocolate and cherries. Serves 8 – maybe.