15 December 2016

Floating Island Pudding: Just like family stories, versions of this family recipe abound

[Uncle Don Christensen's description:]
When I was a boy my mother, Hazel, sometimes took me with her when she went to Idaho to see her parents. We would ride on the street car in Salt Lake City and then get on the Inter-urban train for the ride to Grace, Idaho. We were picked up at the railroad station by one of mother’s relatives. We stayed in Preston at mothers’ parents’ home at 77 North First West.

Grandma Harriet Johnson with some of her grandchildren
The first thing I would do was ask my grandmother to make a floating island pudding. This was a favorite with me and all of my cousins. It was similar in taste to a deep dish apple pie, but Grandma made it in a dish pan. She would roll out the dough on the table to make the crust; this was about 10 to 12 inches wide and about 20 inches long. She then filled it with sliced apples and spices and
folded it up into a tube. This was placed in the dish pan like a big doughnut. Then in the middle she added more spices and a lot of butter. This was then baked in the oven until nice and brown. We all enjoyed eating it with cream or ice cream....

[My mother Anne Christensen Whitney's version:] 
Harriet Emaline Lamb Johnson
Elizabeth Zimmerman Lamb

Here is something that was handed down from your 2nd great grandmother that you can hand down to your great-grandchildren. It is from Elizabeth Zimmerman Lamb to Harriet Emaline Lamb Johnson to Hazel Johnson Christensen to Anna Christensen Whitney etc. One thing this floating island pudding has meant to me has been love and caring and a warm house with a good smell on a cold day. It has been a favorite in each generation.
Anna Christensen Whitney holding Joy
Harriet Johnson's daughters: Edna, Hazel and Hattie
Grandma (Harriet) said to make the crust—make a light biscuit dough a little shorter than usual but not quite as short as pie dough. (increase shortening) Roll the dough out to a rectangle and put the sliced apples on the dough. Bring the crust up over the apples (that you have sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar) and form a ring. Put in a deep pan—cover with boiling water, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar again. Dot with a big piece of butter. Bake about an hour at medium temperature (375 degrees). 

Anne gives us a clue about the country of origin of the recipe when she references our second great-grandmother, Elizabeth Zimmerman of German descent. This must be a German dish.
Hazel Johnson Christensen's children:
back - Vern, Don; front - Carl, Anna, Paul

[Last but not least, my sister Marilyn Prestwich gives us this updated version.]
Here's the recipe written for today’s cooks by Marilyn Prestwich, Anna’s daughter:
Combine 1 3/4 C. flour, 2 1/2 t. baking powder, 3/4 t. salt. Cut a little more than 1/2 C. shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry mixer or two knives. Add 3/4 C. milk a little at a time until dough is pliable, but not sticky. Roll dough out into a long rectangle, wide enough to fold over the apples, and long enough to form into a circle.

Slice and peel about 5 apples. Place apples in the middle of the rectangle. Sprinkle liberally with sugar and cinnamon. Fold dough over the apples, pinching together at the top. This is the dumpling.
Place a large kettle next to the dough and place dumpling in the bottom of the pan in a circle.
Add enough boiling water until the dumpling is barely covered. Sprinkle with more sugar and
cinnamon. Slice 1/4 C. butter or margarine thinly and place them on top of the dumpling circle.
Bake about an hour at 375 degrees.
From Hazel Johnson Christensen: Her Ancestors, compiled by The Bert N Whitney and Anna Christensen Whitney Family History Committee (Provo, Utah: 2011)

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