The making of elaborate desserts, except for special occasions, is a waste of time. A rich pudding is unsuitable after a hearty dinner; fruit is the best dessert after such a meal. Jellies, custards, creams, and combinations of these with fruit, when a part of the meal and not eaten to please the taste after hunger is satisfied, are desirable and whole-some.

Remarks About The Desserts For Which Recipes Are Given

Some dessert dishes have been given under other headings. Caramel Custard is a variation of Cup Custards (p. 92). Bread Puddings are baked custards thickened with bread crumbs. They should be soft, like custard. In making soft custard, use the same care that you have in making sauces thickened with eggs. In using tapioca1 or cornstarch, see that the starch is thoroughly swollen and cooked. What reason is there for cooking it thoroughly? Starch mixtures stiffen in cooking; if to be moulded, take care not to have them more than just stiff enough to hold their shape when cold.

1 Tapioca is made by heating the starch obtained from the roots of the manioc, or cassava, a tropical plant.

Caramel Custard

Eggs, 3.

Sugar, 1 1/2 tb.

Sugar for caramel, 1 c.

Extract of vanilla, 1/2 t. Scalded milk, 1 pt. Water, 2 tb.

Melt the sugar for caramel, stirring constantly until it is light brown. Reserve one-half of it. Butter custard cups and pour a little caramel into each; tip the cups so as to coat them with it.

After beating the eggs slightly, beat in the sugar, stir in the milk and vanilla, and fill the cups nearly full. Bake like cup custards, and when cold turn them out, one on each serving plate. Serve with cold Caramel Sauce.

Another Method

Omit the one and a half tablespoon-fuls of sugar, and mix the caramel into the custard instead of pouring it into the cups.

To make Caramel Sauce, add to the caramel reserved half a cup of boiling water, and keep it hot till the caramel dissolves. If the water is not boiling, the caramel will spatter.

Plain Bread Pudding

Milk, 1 qt. Sugar, 1/2 c. Eggs, 2.

Salt, 1/2 t.

Bread crumbs, 2 c.

Spice, 1/4 t.

(If to be eaten without sauce, add 2 or 3 t. melted butter.)

Soak the bread in the milk. Beat the eggs slightly. Beat into them the sugar. When the crumbs become soft, add eggs and sugar, spice, and salt, and mix thoroughly. Turn into a buttered dish. Bake until a knife inserted in the pudding comes out clean.

Variations Of Bread Pudding

1. Add one cupful of boiled raisins, citron, and currants mixed.

2. Separate the eggs, add only the yolks to the pudding. Beat the whites stiff; beat into them two and a half table-spoonfuls of powdered sugar; spread them roughly over the pudding; and return it to the oven for two minutes, or till a delicate brown.

3. Queen of puddings. - Like variation 2, except omit spice, flavor with one and a half tablespoonfuls of lemon juice and spread it over with jam or jelly before covering it with meringue.