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Birds’ Nest Pudding

Adapted from The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker.
This dessert is like a fluffy cobbler, with sweet and tangy apples baked inside it.
It is very important that the apples bake 25-30 minutes before you pour the batter around them. My first batch was very soggy after it cooled. I think the apples released too much juice because they hadn’t baked long enough. Also, for the life of me, I could not whip eggs till they were no longer liquid, so I have provided a more modern alternative below.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon butter
  • 6 tart apples (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pint heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and butter a deep-dish pie plate or 2-quart baking pan.
  2. Peel and core apples and place them in the dish. A traditional metal peeler works well for coring, but is very sharp and could be too dangerous for children to try. Turn the apples upside down, so they have a wider base as you cut out the cores.
  3. Fill the cut-out centers of the apples with as much brown sugar as will fit, pressing gently. You won’t use it all. You’ll add some to the pudding batter.
  4. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon over the apples.
  5. Start baking the apples while you prepare the batter, letting them bake for a full 25-30 minutes.
  6. To make the batter, separate the 3 eggs, putting the yolks into a larger bowl. To beat the whites the old fashioned way, place them on a platter and beat with a fork or whisk until they no longer slip from the tilted platter. If you want to resort to electricity, pour them in a bowl and use an electric mixer to whip them into soft peaks.
  7. Beat the yolks until they become a lemony yellow. Stir in maple syrup and milk.
  8. In smaller bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and any leftover brown sugar. Stir this mixture quickly into the liquid. Blend well. Fold egg whites into batter (it will be thin).
  9. Pour batter evenly over and around the partially baked apples. Return dish to the oven, baking until the crust has browned, another 45-60 minutes.
  10. While the pudding bakes, stir the powdered sugar and remaining nutmeg into a pitcher of heavy cream.
  11. Serve immediately. Take the finished pudding directly to the table before it falls, and turn each serving onto a plate so the apple is nested in the fluffy crust. Pour sweetened cream over each serving.