Thursday, October 18, 2007

Retro recipes--can you dig it?

A couple of years ago, my mom and bro mailed some of my mom's old cookbooks to me. I shelved them and would flip through once in awhile. I thought I'd looked through all of them. Recently, I saw spots for a blog event calling for 70s retro dessert recipes following a sugar theme. First, I excitedly dug through my mom's old books, thinking at least one of them was from the 70s. None I looked through were, and I figured I'd wait for the next challenge. Then, looking for another book, I came across Faye Martin's Rodale's Naturally Delicious Desserts and Snacks, circa 1978! Looking through, I ogled the gelatin molds, pinafore-style aprons, and the wide ties on the male cooks demonstrating the recipes. I quickly decided to try two recipes that used ingredients I already had at home--peanut butter pudding and biscuit tortoni. In all my excitement, I forgot that these recipes needed one integral thing to really qualify for the Retro Recipe Challenge--sugar. Naturally delicious desserts and snacks, however, use honey. Ironically, the reason I decided to make them at all was because they didn't use sugar, and I wanted to stay away from it. Ah well. The results were delicious, and the recipes were a lot of fun to make!

Peanut butter pudding--it tastes just like peanut butter pie filling, only better. Pie filling is often too rich and sweet, but this had a nice, smooth, peanutty flavor. I used a natural, unsweetened peanut butter for ultimate flavor and ... and naturalness. I love love love peanut butter, but have been turned off by overly sweet peanut butter pies. This really hit the spot. The only thing I love more than peanut butter is peanut butter and chocolate, so some bittersweet chocolate grated over the top added some fabulous flavor and a nice crunch (not like Corn Flakes crunch, of course--more like a hesitant fight with the initial bite down until it gave way into a melty wave of choco-goodness).
peanut butter pudding

Ahhhhh ... ("Open wide, here comes the chew chew train!")
peanut butter pudding

Biscuit tortoni. I was especially happy with this recipe. It was like torrone-flavored gelato, with a little splash of sumthin'-sumthin' (port wine). The last time I had torrone was when my Commercial Baking instructor made a batch of us students, showing quickly how to warm the honey, add the cream, mix and stir, pour into a pan lined with edible rice paper, cool, then slice and eat. It was such a wonderful treat--something none of us had eaten. Since then, the memory of the creamy, honey-built nougat touched with a nutty crunch has been such a delectable and divine thought. I was glad to revisit it. Again, I can't imagine sugar in this--the flavors of the few ingredients the recipe involved came through amazingly.
biscuit tortoni

Ahhhhh ... ("Here comes the airplane, into the hangar!")
biscuit tortoni

9 comments:

the pastry princess said...

wow that peanut butter pudding sounds fantastic...pb is my vice! any chance you're willing to share the recipe?

thanks!

Julie said...

Thanks, princess! It was really tasty. I recommend using natural peanut butter. This recipe serves 4, but I successfully halved this it, mostly because I wanted to halve the other recipe, and because I had only 1/8 cup peanut butter. Let me know how it turns out! I’m really enjoying browsing through this book. It’s selling for only a penny through a lot of Amazon shops!

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups milk (other milk)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch.

Heat other milk in small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to simmer, add peanut butter, honey, and salt, mixing well. Stir in milk and cornstarch, and cook, stirring, until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Temper beaten egg with about 1/2 cup of milk mixture, then add egg to saucepan, stirring and cooking for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into serving dishes, cool, then refrigerate for several hours.

Brittany said...

This looks delish- and perfectly befitting retro-ness, the chew chew trains remind me of many childhood moments invloving my determined mother, my stubborn self, and cooked carrots.

Julie said...

Thanks, Brittany! For some reason, I favor those "open wide" shots, so I couldn't resist making jokes.

Dolores said...

How very quintessentially 1970's. And I love that the sweetness comes from a *natural* sugar substitute. Great contribution!

Julie said...

Dolores, thank you! I was so excited to find that one of my mom's old books was, indeed, from the 70s and that these two delicious recipes were in it that I totally forgot I needed sugar. Still, the retro spirit is there, and I'm glad I made them! I plan to make them again. And again. And again!

Melynda Huskey said...

I think we had that cookbook, too. I'm remembering lots of recipes with carob, and those little balls of peanutbutter, powdered milk, and honey, all rolled in coconut.

Ah, the good old "Natural" days . . .

Laura Rebecca said...

Wow, that is sinful! Nice RRC contribution, Julie!

Julie said...

Melynda, thanks! Imagine a world without preservatives and additives. *sigh* It makes me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder, without the bonnet.

Laura, thank you! I was so excited by the recipe that I totally forgot the most important element for the challenge: sugar! It tasted sinful, but with fewer calories--it's like fooling the devil! ;)