Posts Tagged ‘Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest’

Return of the Pudding Festival

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Chocolate Pudding Cakeweb

My favorite culinary event, the Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival, will return this coming Sunday, September 28, in my beloved Hawley, Massachusetts, after a five-year hiatus–an even longer hiatus if you consider the fact that the most recent festival (in 2009) took place in Charlemont, not in Hawley. 

Centering around a contest, the day is a whole lot of fun.

Good food, good scenery, good music, and good company. A perfect combination.

I hope readers who can will attend this festival—and perhaps enter a pudding! Here is the schedule for the day:

11 a.m.
Puddings arrive at the Hawley Grove in East Hawley. (We ask a $15 entry fee. And please bring the recipe!)
11:15 a.m.
Free tour of nearby Sidehill Farm (a wonderful organic dairy farm, and a donor to the contest).
12:30 p.m.
Lunch. (Donation requested.)
1:30 p.m.
Pudding parade, entertainment, and announcement of the contest winner(s). Puddings will be available for tasting after the judging—although you eat at your own risk!

Here’s a pudding to get you salivating. I was going to make it on TV last week, but we ran out of time so you see it in the video but don’t watch the preparation. It’s simple, and a variation on it is a frequent entry in the contest.

To make it more local, I used Taza Chocolate. Taza is a company in Somerville, Massachusetts, that buys organic cacao beans and stone grinds them. They sent me some chocolate to play with (they also generously donated a chocolate sampler as a prize in the pudding contest) so I used their cinnamon chocolate discs to make the pudding.

The recipe as it stands here is only gently chocolaty. If you are a major chocoholic, feel free to add more chocolate.

And if you’d like more information about the Pudding Festival, visit its website.

Cinnamon Taza

Taza Chocolate Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ounce Taza chocolate (from a disc; you choose the flavor!)
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons grated Taza chocolate
1 cup boiling water

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Into a bowl sift 3/4 cup of the sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk and vanilla.

Melt the ounce of chocolate and the butter together in a double boiler. Add them to the other mixture. Pour this batter into a greased small 1-1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish.

Blend the brown sugar, the remaining white sugar, and the grated chocolate, and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Pour the water over all. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 6 to 8.

pudding talkweb

I can’t leave you without a cute story. As you’ll see in the video below, I occasionally call myself the Queen of Pudding. (This distinguishes me from the winner of the Pudding Contest, who is known as the Pudding Head.)

At the end of Mass Appeal everyone was invited to eat pudding. One of the other guests took a bite, looked at me, and exclamed, “You really ARE the Queen of Pudding!”

I had to fluff up my feathers just a little. Well, maybe a lot.

Here is my video preview of the Pudding Festival. The corn pudding recipe will come soon!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_MOEL8OZjk&list=UUhrpfuBCFEPoURYVpsi4iHw[/youtube]

Greek Eggplant Pudding

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

 
We are not holding our traditional Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest this year. My schedule and my mother’s health make it uncertain that I’ll have the time it takes to put it together in October.
 
Nevertheless, as fall approaches I think fondly of this fun event. (You may see photos of last year’s festivities here.)
 
Contestants almost always enter more sweet puddings than savory, but I have a soft spot in my heart and palate for the savory ones.
 
The recipe below is for what may be my all-time favorite pudding entered in the contest, the Greek Eggplant Pudding from Nancy Argeris of Hawley, Massachusetts.
 
I ran across a small eggplant at a farm stand the other day and was inspired to throw together a miniature version of the recipe with my mother. We loved its slightly salty, eggplanty warmth. 

We used the tiny eggplant plus 2 eggs and about a third of everything else. We probably could have made the whole recipe since the pudding is delicious the next day. As it was, we finished it off handily with a little help from Truffle, who like me is a sucker for feta cheese.

Her pudding supper filled her up nicely and sent her right to sleep.

 

 
The pudding takes a bit of time to put together as it has three stages—soaking, baking, and baking again. None of the stages is difficult, however.
 
The Pudding
 
Ingredients:
 
2 medium to large eggplants
Kosher salt for sprinkling
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (more or less), divided
1 large white onion, finely chopped (I used a sweet onion as that’s what I had in the house)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 large eggs
1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh (I tend to use a bit more)
 
Instructions:
 
Peel the eggplants and cut them into 1/2-inch rounds. (For my smaller version I made the rounds a bit narrower.)
 
Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling salt on each layer as they go in. Let them sit with the salt for 45 minutes. Half an hour into this process, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 
When the eggplant slices are through sitting rinse and dry them thoroughly. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the slices on it, turning so that both sides have been oiled. Bake until the pieces soften, about 30 minutes.
 
In a small sauté pan sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs. Stir in the crumbled feta, the oregano, and the onion mixture.
 
Oil a 3-quart baking dish and put a layer of eggplant at the bottom. Pour about 1/3 of the egg mixture on top. Repeat the layers, ending with the egg mixture.
 
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the mixture sets. (Avoid overcooking the pudding. It doesn’t have to be brown.) 

Serves 6 to 8.


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It’s Almost Pudding Time!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Pudding Festival poster web copy 
As many readers know, one of my favorite fall activities is the Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival. This yearly homage to small-town life and food blends many of my passions–food, music, humor, and hammy acting.
 
The poster above (designed by Leon Peters of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts–thanks, Lee!) should give you some idea of the colorful yet homey nature of this event.
 
This year’s festival will take place on Saturday, October 31 (yes, Halloween!), at the Federated Church on Route 2 in Charlemont, Massachusetts.
 
Entries to the contest portion of the day are due by 11 am that morning so PLEASE START THINKING ABOUT MAKING A PUDDING. And tell your friends about this event.
 
(Those who have entered in past years may wonder why we’re not having a pre-contest to narrow down finalists. The Sons & Daughters of Hawley have gotten so darn busy lately that we couldn’t find a date on which our volunteers could schedule it. Think how much more exciting this will be!)
 
If you enter, you will have fun, contribute to a great cause (the $12 entry fee goes to our historical-society building project), and probably get at least a very small prize (we have quite a few!).
 
Entries need not be elaborate. As you can see from our contest information pages, our definition of the word “pudding” is highly flexible.
 
Non-cooks may shop, eat a yummy lunch, and watch the free fabulous entertainment.
 
We’ll get everyone home in time for trick-or-treating!
 
If you have questions about the day or if you’d like to volunteer to help, please use the contact form on this blog to get in touch with me, Tinky.
 
The contest web site includes a list of prizes and pictures of last year’s festivities.
 
Here’s the winning recipe from 2006 to get you in a pudding mood. The winner, Leigh Bullard of Virginia, blended two of my favorite flavors, chocolate and mint. (Obviously, the combination appealed to the judges as well.)
 
Chocolate Mint Pudding for web
 
Michael’s Almost Famous Chocolate Mint Pudding
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate, preferably a good brand
2 tablespoons sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup boiling water
whipped cream and crushed peppermint (if desired) as needed for garnish
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Into a bowl sift 3/4 cup of the sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract.
 
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Add them to the other mixture. Pour this batter into a greased small 1-1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish.
 
Blend the brown sugar, the remaining white sugar, and the cocoa, and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Pour the water over all. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream (or ice cream) and peppermint if desired. Serves 6 to 8.
 
The 2006 Pudding Head samples her entry.

The 2006 Pudding Head samples her entry.

Tinky Goes Yankee

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

tinkyankweb

 

I don’t usually put posts on my blog that merely link to other web sites, but today I’m making an exception. The new issue of Yankee magazine is now OUT—and it features an article on me, Tinky Weisblat. I’m the star of the March/April “Best Cook in Town” feature by veteran Yankee writer Edie Clark.

 

Edie called last fall just before the semi-final rounds of my annual Pudding Hollow Pudding Contest. She needed to interview someone THAT WEEK and hoped it could be I, preparing an original pudding recipe. I was a little taken aback since I had to test seven other puddings for the semi-finals, but I love being famous. So of course I said yes and scrambled together a recipe for something called Cozy Apple Pudding.

 

We had a lovely visit despite the chaos. One of Edie’s greatest assets as a reporter is that she seems like an old friend the minute she walks in the door. She worked and chatted with my mother and me as we cooked and even sat through a rehearsal of my signature song for the Pudding Contest, “Find Me a Man I Can Cook For” by my neighbor Alice Parker. Of course, Alice joined us for pudding.

 

I encourage you to run right out and buy an issue of Yankee. In it you’ll find Edie’s interview with me; my apple pudding recipe (made with apples plucked from the tree in my front yard!); and the recipe for one of my favorite entries in the Pudding Contest, Greek Eggplant Pudding by Nancy Argeris.

 

If you must read the article right away, you may look at it online, but I think I look a little thinner in the print version so naturally I want to steer you toward it!

 

Besides, it’s a great magazine with terrific taste in cooks…….

An Arrgh-ument for Pirates

Thursday, November 6th, 2008
The Pirates of Pudding Hollow. Thanks to Phyllis Gotta for the photos on this post!

The Pirates of Pudding Hollow. Thanks to Phyllis Gotta for the photos on this post!

 
My friend Peter Beck called my attention to a piece in the style section of The New York Times last Thursday about the popularity of pirate attire. Pretend pirates apparently frequent coastal resorts. Pirates were also seen in and around homes across the nation last week. Times writer Michael Brick noted that pirate ensembles have become the fifth most popular Halloween costumes for American children and adults, beating out both zombies and Hannah Montanas.
 
Peter knew that I had inserted pirates into the entertainment for my annual charity pudding contest. The story we enacted, supposedly found in a vault in the Town Office here in Hawley, Massachusetts, told of a visit to Hawley by pirates in the late 18th century. The cutthroat band was in search of our town’s most famous comestible, pudding.
 
After reading the piece in the Times Peter asked, “How did you know that pirates were so chic?”
 
The truth is that I didn’t actually know it—at least not before I saw the contest entertainment. I mainly wanted to recycle some of the props from my nephew Michael’s eighth birthday party, which had a pirate theme. The pirate party was the brainchild of our cousins Jane and Alan.
 
In addition, as a writer I loved the incongruity of placing pirates smack in the middle of a town that’s about as far inland as any community in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. I’m a big fan of the absurd. So with a little nod to Gilbert and Sullivan I named our little play “The Pirates of Pudding Hollow.”
 
When I saw our pirates on the stage, however, I realized that I had stumbled upon archetypes that appealed hugely to amateur actors and to the public at large. Our pirates threw themselves into their parts—leering, fighting, and of course yelling “Arrgh!” a lot. The audience was charmed, and the other actors were inspired. The pirates are lobbying heavily for a return engagement in next year’s entertainment.
 
Michael Brick quoted one of the pretend pirates he interviewed on the appeal of faux piracy. “It’s this idea of being able to go out and do whatever you want and be whatever you want and throw all these morals away and not care about the law, when in reality you can’t,” a 19-year-old pirate told the reporter.
 

Pirate John hams it up pretending to be sick.
Pirate John hams it up pretending to be sick.
 
Like witches, gangsters, gypsies, and wild-west gunfighters, pirates appeal to mainstream Americans because they exist to some extent outside of our culture and our laws. We don’t really want to sail the seas nonstop or make people walk the plank (not most people at any rate; I do have a few candidates in mind). We certainly wouldn’t care for pirates’ limited diets or their even more limited standards of personal hygiene.
 
What we do want is a little license to play–to shout, to pose, to dress up, and to be intimidating without actually having to intimidate anyone.
 
Pirate Michael accesorizes his wardrobe.
Pirate Michael accessorizes his wardrobe.
 
Pirate lore is also appealing because, like the knights of the roundtable or Indiana Jones, pirates are on an eternal quest. I don’t know anyone who has ever seen, let alone dug up, buried treasure. But that two-word phrase bears a strong romantic appeal. Treasure trove is something we may dream of all our lives but never find. Thinking of it gives us all a little license to dream, however. And a dream, as our new president elect could tell us, is a pretty useful thing.  
 
Here is last year’s pudding-contest entry from our pirate captain, Ray Poudrier. The pudding’s name fits in nicely with the piracy of this post. Ray says he almost called it “Bachelor’s Pudding” or “Pudding for Dummies” because it uses so many packaged ingredients. I hope readers deem it appropriate pirate fare.
 

Captain Ray has a HUNGER for pudding!
Captain Ray has a HUNGER for pudding!
 
Captain Ray’s Butter Rum Raisin Riot
 
Ingredients:
 
1 package gingerbread mix (for an 8- or 9-inch square pan), plus ingredients to complete the mix
1 cup rum
1/2 cup raisins
1 package butterscotch pudding mix, plus ingredients to complete the mix
1/3 jar caramel ice cream topping
whipped cream to taste (optional)
 
Instructions:
 
Prepare the gingerbread according to the package’s directions. Cool it; then slice it into 3 layers.
 
Heat the rum and raisins in a microwave oven for about 3 minutes. The raisins should soften, and the rum should be reduced.
 
Prepare the butterscotch pudding according to the package’s directions. Cool it slightly.
 
Drizzle the bottom layer of gingerbread with a third of the reduced rum. Pour about 1/3 of the butterscotch pudding on top.
 
Place a second layer of gingerbread on top. Drizzle that layer with 1/3 of reduced rum. Pour another 1/3 of the butterscotch pudding on top. Pour on the drunken raisins and remaining reduced rum.
 
Place the third layer of gingerbread on top. Drizzle the top of the gingerbread layer with remaining pudding. Add caramel topping in open areas of cake, if desired. Allow the cake to rest overnight. Serve with whipped cream if you like. Serves 9.
 
One More Look at the Birthday Party Pirates!

Some of the Birthday Party Pirates!

pirate-props-web1

 

Jane Steinberg & Alan Kraut at the Pirate Party

They Started It All: Jane Steinberg & Alan Kraut at the Pirate Party