Enfield Shaker Bird’s Nest Pudding Recipe

SISTER MARTHA WETHERELL, ENFIELD SHAKER VILLAGE, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Enfield Shaker Bird's Nest Pudding
Enfield Shaker Bird’s Nest Pudding

ORIGINAL RECIPE

One cup sugar, one cup sweet milk, half a cup butter, two cups flour, two eggs, two teaspoons baking powder. Have ready some sour apples partly cooked. Pour on the batter while boiling hot. May be either baked or steamed.

Enfield Shaker Bird’s Nest Pudding Recipe

KITCHEN-TESTED BY KAREN WOLK, ENFIELD SHAKER MUSEUM

UPDATED RECIPE

Pudding
4 medium-sized crisp apples, left whole but peeled and cored
1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (120 grams) butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 eggs
1/2 cup (123 grams) milk
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Thoroughly butter at 2-quart baking dish.

Place apples in prepared baking dish. Fill each core with the brown sugar, pressing down slightly. Sprinkle grated nutmeg over apples. Reserve the remaining sugar.

Bake the apples until slightly softened – for at least 30 minutes. Test with a fork. They should be hot and cooked, but not mushy or falling apart; use your judgment and individual taste.

While the apples are baking make the batter:

Beat the reserved brown sugar and butter together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well each time.

In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Combine butter mixture, flour and milk by first adding 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 of the milk, the next 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk and then the last of the flour. Mix until well combined, but do not over-mix.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and evenly spread the batter around the apples making sure to leave the tops uncovered.

Bake for an additional 45-50 minutes, until the batter is cooked through and the top is nice and brown.

Serve warm with sweetened heavy cream topping poured over each serving.

Topping
2 cups (462 grams) sweet heavy cream
1/4 cup (50 grams) white sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Combine cream and sugar and stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in the grated nutmeg.

     

Kitchen-Tester’s Note: Bird’s Nest Pudding is a traditional dessert with several recipes available on-line. These often have no butter and call for separating the eggs in the batter. Sister Martha Wetherell’s Shaker version, which has a substantial amount of butter and adds the whole un-separated eggs, produced a tasty pudding with a nice texture. Also, the Shaker recipe does not specify the type of sugar to be used, but we found that brown sugar produced a very satisfactory and flavorful pudding. Although Sister Martha’s recipe does not call for the heavy cream topping, we recommended it.

This recipe first appeared in Shaker Recipes for Cooks and Homemakers, by William Lassiter (New York: Greenwich Book Publishers, 1959, p. 148) and is attributed to Sister Martha Wetherhill. Shaker Recipes for Cooks and Homemakers was reprinted by Bonanza Books in 1978 under the title Shaker Recipes and Formulas for Cooks and Homemakers. Both editions are out of print, but are available at reasonable cost at www.abebooks.com or www.eBay.com.

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