Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pwdin Caws -- Cheese Pudding from Wales

I borrowed this book from the library:  The Welsh Dresser -- More Recipes from Wales by Sian Llewellyn.  It was first published in 1974 but I think the one I borrowed was published in 1978.  I forgot to take a picture of the cover, so I found this one on Amazon (sorry it is blurry!):

ISBN 9780860050377
If you could read the front cover, you would see that he labels "cheese" as "caws" in Welsh.  So I think "pwdin caws" translates to "pudding cheese" or "cheese pudding".  Here is the recipe that caught my eye (from page 31).

Pwdin Caws

4 ounces Cheddar cheese
3 ounces bread crumbs
1 ounce butter
2 eggs 
salt and pepper
1/2 pint milk

Heat the butter with the milk and pour over the bread crumbs.  Grate the cheese.  Separate the egg yolks from the white.  Beat the yolks lightly and add to the bread crumb mixture with most of the cheese.  Season to taste.  Whip the egg whites stiffly and fold into the mixture.  Pour into a buttered pie dish and cover with the remaining cheese.  Cook for 30 - 40 minutes in a moderate oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit, 177 degrees Celsius, gas mark 4).

I used dried bread crumbs because I figured their job was to soak up the milk/butter mix and thicken the pudding.  It was the right thing to do.

Since those measures were in ounces, I got out my trusty digital kitchen scale and weighed them appropriately.  By the way, two tablespoons of salted butter really does weigh one ounce!  (I was told so but always wondered.)  The microwave took one minute to heat the milk and the butter until the butter was melted. 

After I poured the milk/butter mix into the bread crumbs, I stirred it.  This seemed to help the crumbs soak up the liquid quickly.

I used more pepper to season because I am finally making friends with that spice.  Mostly it is too strong for me.  Because the butter was salted, I used less salt in the mix than I might normally do.

Crumbs, milk, butter, egg yolks, salt, pepper
The stiffly-beaten egg whites folded in neatly to the rest of the mixture.  At this point I realized what I was making was a simple cheese souffle'.  I love souffle's!!

With folded in egg whites
Since it says to use "most of the cheese", I guessed that 3/4 should go in the pudding and the rest on top.  That was enough to spread across the pan in a very decorative way.

The oven preheated while I was doing the rest of the work.  While cooking, the cheese pudding smelled absolutely heavenly.  After 30 minutes the middle looked set and the dish was ready.

The Verdict
It wasn't as fluffy as I thought it would be but still, it was not dense at all.  It was a little too oily-looking for my senses but it certainly didn't taste greasy.  The bread crumbs made it a little chewy, which was a welcome body of texture to the dish.  The flavor was good -- I could taste the extra-sharp cheddar cheese and the spices seemed right for it.  I probably could have put in a little more pepper but certainly not more salt.

I declare a success!

I think this dish could play the role of appetizer (cut in thin wedges), side dish (with some roast beef to compliment the cheddar), or main course for a light meal. 

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