Monday, September 20, 2010

Almandejes Greies, I call it Oma's Fish Mold Pudding

A recent phone call to Mom cleared up the Fish Mold story for me. There were two molds, not one, which explains why I was a total fish mold klutz at the last family gathering I attended in Holland. I still think back to that dinner with a big grin. My younger cousin had made an almond cake of sorts that somehow didn't turn out. He was being all apologetic while holding this gorgeous dessert in front of me that he had made with his own two hands. I was so touched. Everyone cooked; my favorite kind of party! It was there that my Aunt who is also my Godmother gave me a green glass necklace, but that’s another story. Anyhow, I was given the honor of slicing the fish mold pudding. My cousin had to intervene when I started to slice off the wrong end, not realizing in this case that I needed to shave off the fish first. Ritual is important, especially this one.

"Well, this book
is very old

Of course Mom and I spent the next hour on the phone talking about the fish mold pudding and old recipes of her youth. I heard her rustling around. She had pulled out Oma's cookbook. I could hear her paging through it and she cheerfully said "Well, this book is very old, I can barely read the first and last page and it's falling apart." Being a vintage book lover and a book repair artist in training I cringed as I pictured pages falling out under her touch, “Be careful Mom,” I whispered while she pulled out little scraps of paper and enjoyed a trip down memory lane. I was so excited that she had a cookbook from my grandmother. “Is it her writing or a printed book?” I asked.

Mom was still paging through it and then recalled that Oma hardly used it because she cooked from memory. “Did you know she cooked for a major before she was married?” I knew she had cooked for a Jewish family and had to learn kosher cooking. Mom told me Oma had interviewed with the major’s wife who demanded, (probably with her nose slightly pointed upwards) “There are 365 days in the year I don’t want any repeats, can you cook 365 desserts?” I’m sure Oma politely, yet with dominating flippancy, probably replied (with her well-turned chin pointed somewhat outward) “But of course Madam, shall I start with your favorite or mine?” She had to get extra ideas from somewhere. Hence the book perhaps.

Mom read the title to me, translating it from Dutch. “The cookbook is called Cookbook from The Amsterdam Household School by C. J. Wanee, a teacher in cooking and nutrition. It’s the third printing published in 1910.

You can have it” she added. I squealed like a little girl...  In writing this I notice that I am still overjoyed. Of course I have to fly over to see her to get it.

We reviewed the fish mold recipe. I had asked her if it’s a special family recipe. She said, “It’s so popular in Holland that you can buy a readymade mix off the shelf. Of course you can write about it!” I chuckle; a box mix.

Mom cautioned me to have ice water sitting in the mold and to pour it out and immediately pour in the pudding. It seems to help it not stick. She also said it's great the next morning sliced for breakfast. Being an almond lover my mouth waters at the thought of this heavenly food for breakfast.

Here’s the ingredients:

1 Liter full milk (heavy not skim)
100-110 grams Cream of Wheat
¼ stick of vanilla bean OR grated peel of half a lemon (OR Mom uses Almond Extract) I personally think it would be heavenly with a combination of vanilla, lemon peel and ground Cardemom.
75 grams of sugar
1 or 2 eggs separated
40 grams of whole almonds boiled, skinned then chopped

I see I will need to do conversions for my US readers.

Picture this; Mom boils the almonds then stands at the oven stirring the cream of wheat mixture with one hand and popping skins off the almonds with the other hand. Tell me she's not talented! 

Here's how I'll be handling this line-up of ingredients: I'll be plopping the room temperature egg yolks in the room temperature milk and running that in my blender until smooth, then adding that to the dry ingredients already well mixed in a medium saucepan, which will then be placed over medium heat. I wonder if I can top my Mom's talents by stirring the cream of wheat mixture, popping skins off almonds AND pulsing the eggwhites in my mixer all at the same time. All that will be left to do is pull the hot mixture off the stove, add the flavorings, chop the almonds, fold them into the eggwhites which in turn gets folded into the cream of wheat mixture. Pour this into the mold and refrigerate until firm.

Did I miss anything? I better test this recipe. BUT I CAN'T (I wail emphatically here like a miserable child, it's really annoying sounding.) I don't get the Fish Mold until my birthday and this recipe MUST go into a fish mold. It's tradition. Should I wait?

More about this recipe to come.





1 comment:

  1. Karen, of course you MUST wait! I on the other hand must break tradition. Not in waiting for my birthday, but since I was naturally given a "turtle" mold for obvious reasons, I will have to try our Oma's recipe in my turtle mold. This is so exciting! Do you remember waiting for the milk man to ring Oma's doorbell? We all squealed in delight when he came because we knew Oma was going to make her special pudding when she bought extra milk. Oh and don't forget the Fla!! Luv, Pascha



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