My grandmother ( we call her Nannie) grew up in the backwoods of Tennessee as a farmer’s daughter. Her family worked hard for what little they could earn and made the most of what they had. She’s told me stories of growing up way out in the “sticks” and the times she had. She has shared some of her recipes with me and given me her wisdom on canning and “putting up”. Not to mention I spent the large portion of my younger days at her knee while my parents worked. I love hanging out with her. She is a funny lady with a distinctive laugh and a sharp wit. When I am 85, I hope that I am as fantastic as she is. So, when she started telling me a few months ago about a recipe her Momma used to make that she had lost the recipe for, I knew I had to recreate it for her.
That recipe was something called Woodford Pudding. All she could remember was that it was something like a bread pudding with a sweet sauce on it. That was all the direction I could get. Lucky for me, Google exists and I wasn’t the only one who had heard of Woodford Pudding. Like many recipes from the early 20th century, there are as many variations as there are people who made it. Some had a sauce, other’s didn’t. Some had eggs, some didn’t. Some called for sour cream, others were a little more simple. So, I piled them all together and came up with a recipe that sounded something like what Nannie was looking for. Anything for Nannie.
The resulting dessert was something unbelievably delectable. I really didn’t think it was going to be as good as it was. The ingredients are nothing special, but the flavor is undeniable. The cake is full of spice and flavor while the sauce adds the moist, gooey sweetness that soaks into the bread and gives it a soft, almost pudding like texture. So what did Nannie think about it? Not only did she tell me that the pudding was just right and it brought back memories from her childhood, but she went back for a second bowl. I think it passed the test.
1 cup of preserves ( I used some homemade fig preserves I had but any preserves will do)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda dissolved in 1/8 cup of sour milk ( milk with splash of lemon juice )
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
4 T butter
1 T all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until mixed well.
Beat in eggs, milk and preserves until well incorporated.
Mix in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla well.
Pour into a well greased square baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until edges are brown and middle of cake is set.
For the sauce: Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and butter are dissolved. Continue to cook until sauce is bubbly and has thickened.
When you pull the cake out of the oven, cut it into chunks with a spoon then pour sauce over the entire cake.
Let it set for about 5 minutes before serving warm and possible with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm…enjoy!