1916 Erskineville Date Pudding and Snowballs – Economical, tasty and wholesome

The Sydney newspaper The Sun (1910-1954) encouraged the housewives of Sydney to submit their recipes for consideration by ‘Dinah’ (an experienced and economical cook) and inclusion in the Sunday edition’s Women’s Page recipes. On this day 100 years ago, an Erskineville resident known only as ‘I.S.’ had two of their recipies chosen for publication. Following five recipes submitted by a Neutral Bay resident for rabbit (Rabbit Loaf, Baked Rabbit, Rabbit Pie, Broiled Rabbit, and Rabbit Pudding), I.S. of Erskineville’s Date Pudding and Snowballs recipes provided a welcome departure. Here is an extract of the article:

Tried recipes - Date Pudding and Snowballs.png

The Sun Sunday, 24 September 1916

Not being much of a cook (nor a housewife for that matter) I have nonetheless given these recipes a crack. Whilst on first review these are pretty simple recipes, there are some details missing that make these a little less than straight forward.

For each recipe in what order should the ingredients be combined? Just bung everything together? When it comes to the snowballs, how much flour? Bake for how long? What temperature?

Date Pudding

Erskineville Date Pudding.png

When it came to the date pudding there were modern recipes for sticky date pudding and Christmas pudding from which additional details could be gleaned. Here’s the approach taken:

Ingredients:
230 grams of dates, roughly chopped
1 cup of self-raising flour
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of beef dripping
1/2 a cup of boiling water
1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Method:
1. Grease a pudding basin with butter and line with baking paper.
2. Place dates and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Pour over boiling water. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
3. Combine self-raising flour and sugar in a separate bowl. Add date mixture and softened dripping.
4. Using a wooden spoon, fold through date mixture and flour until well combined.
5. Spoon mixture into the prepared pudding basin.
6. Place pudding basin into a large saucepan. Pour in enough boiling water to combine halfway up the side of the pan. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil. Cook, covered, topping up with extra boiling water if necessary, for 2 hours.
7. Remove pudding basin from saucepan, and set aside for 10 minutes before turning onto a serving plate.

A trap for the novice: Tempting as it may be to lick the spoon after mixing, it will taste mainly of beef fat. Not good.

Snowballs

Erskineville Snowballs.png

As far as I can tell these are basically pancakes cooked in a muffin pan, as shown by this modern recipe for ‘Perfect Pancake Muffins.’ The 1916 recipe does not provide any advice as to the amount of flour, or cooking time or duration. Here’s the approach taken:

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of flour

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200º Celsius. Grease a 12 cup muffin tray with butter or olive oil spray. Set aside.
2. In a bowl beat egg whites using an egg-beater. Slowly add sugar, then milk while beating to combine well.
3. In a bowl sift together flour and baking powder.
4. Add flour to egg-white mixture. Continue mixing with an egg-beater to create a smooth and lump-free batter.
5. Divide the batter between the muffing tray cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Have you tried these recipes? Got any tips? Let me know!

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