How to Make: Snow Pudding

Snow Pudding

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Welcome back to Tenacious Genealogy! Today is Friday, which means another historical recipe! This week, I’m focusing on a light, fluffy dish that has its origins in the Victorian era but remained popular well into the 20th century.

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the evening meal (dinner or supper depending on when or where you were) was often a heavy, ‘meat and potatoes’ type meal. As delicious as these meals may have been to our ancestors, sometimes it was nice to have a refreshing end to a meal.

Snow Pudding isn’t a pudding in either the traditional British or American sense of a pudding. It is neither steamed nor a dairy-based dessert. In fact, it is actually closer to the Jello mold desserts that were all the rage in the mid 20th century. This specific recipe, however, hails from the World War I era (prior to the US’s entrance) and only requires a few ingredients, most of which would have been easily accessible to cooks and homemakers in a large city. (Only lemon juice would have been exotic and hard to come by, making this dish one for special occasions.)

Cookbook: The Community Cookbook
Author: Class of Willing Workers of the Winter St. Baptist Church Haverhill Massachusetts
Published: 1916

Original Recipe:

1 tablespoonful gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 egg whites

  1. Soak one tablespoonful gelatine in one-fourth cup cold water, add a little pinch of salt, and dissolve in one and one-fourth cup boiling water;
  2. Add three-fourths cup sugar and one-fourth cup lemon juice.
  3. When mixture begins to form, beat with a Dover beater until almost white, then add well-beaten whites of three eggs and beat thoroughly.
  4. Set aside to cool, and serve with sweet or whipped cream.

My translation of the recipe:

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (1 tablespoon is equal to 14 grams or 2 individual packets)
1/4 cup cold water
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 egg whites

    1. Soak one tablespoonful gelatine in one-fourth cup cold water, add a little pinch of salt, and dissolve in one and one-fourth cup boiling water.
    2. Mix well.
    3. Add three-fourths cup sugar and one-fourth cup lemon juice to the gelatin mixture.
    4. Beat with an electric hand mixer until foamy and white. (The gelatin mixture will increase in size as you mix it.
    5. Mix the egg whites until they are foamy and stiff.
    6. Add the well-beaten egg whites and beat everything thoroughly.
    7. Set in refrigerator until it sets (usually overnight), and serve with sweet or whipped cream.

Snow Pudding in a Modern Kitchen

Last week, I attempted to make a meringue-based dessert called Floating Islands. That did not work out well and so I ended up making Garfield Cake. This week I wanted to try my hand at another meringue based dish and thankfully it came out much better.

Snow Pudding ingredients
All the ingredients needed for Snow Pudding

As I mentioned earlier, this is a recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients. The only ingredient that may have been difficult to source for the original recipe would have been lemon juice and nowadays you can find that in any grocery store. As for the gelatin, any brand of unflavored gelatin will work. Usually, they come in a box of little packets. The store brand gelatin that I got came in 7g packets. Two of these equal 1 tablespoon.

The first step calls for mixing the gelatin with cold water and a little bit of salt. It’ll end up looking like this.

Once you mix in the hot/ boiling water, it will dissolve and once you put in the sugar and lemon juice, it’ll look like a cloudy syrup. At this point, take an electric hand mixer (like this one) and mix it until it is foamy. It will increase in size and stay foamy once you’ve stopped.

Then take your hand mixer, wash off the beaters, and go after your egg whites. Make sure not to get any yolk residue in the egg whites or they won’t stiffen up properly. (Also, warming the eggs up from refrigerator temperatures can make them easier to  split and easier to turn into the meringue – I just put them in warm water while doing the rest of the recipe.)

Your egg whites should be stiff and foamy like they are in the picture above. Then it is time to mix everything together.

Mix everything thoroughly, but not for too long so that the egg whites/meringue doesn’t fall apart.

Then pour it into whatever dish you wish to ‘mold’ it into. I’m not fancy, so I just put it into one of my Pyrex bread pans.

It’ll be foamy on top and liquidy on the bottom. Don’t worry. It’ll still set. Now put it in the refrigeration and let it chill for a few hours. I let it sit overnight.

Snow Pudding!

When finished, the pudding will have a sugary meringue top and a lemony jello bottom layer. At this point, you can just cut or scoop out portions and then cover them with sweet or whipped cream, if you should so desire. You can even eat it plain too. The best way to describe the taste is that it is like lemon meringue pie without the crust.

I took some into work to let my coworkers try some after I made it and it was a huge hit. By the time I took it home for the day, it was almost completely gone!

Comments? Questions?

Comments or questions about the recipe? Do you have a version handed down in your family? Let me know in the comments! And if you like what you’ve been seeing here on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get access to freebies such as ’10 Tips for Starting Your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber only’ items!

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