French Pudding, with apologies to the French

Eleanor was superstitious. More superstitious than any person I've ever known, and it wasn't an ironic superstitiousness, either: she was totally sincere. AND I don't mean, like, “broken mirror” superstitions, but weird ones like “if you put your shirt on backwards you have to leave it that way because it's bad luck to turn it around,” and “don't turn the page of your calendar to the new month until the new month has already started.”

So, in honour of Friday the 13th, which would have been Eleanor's least favourite day of this year, I give you my first disaster recipe from the box. It is not a recipe for pudding. Nor is there anything about this recipe that is French, with the possible exception of the inclusion of unsweetened whipped cream, but I think even that's a bit of a stretch. This is sort of like a trifle, but you're supposed to make it in a baking pan, and it includes raw eggs... I guess if I get food poisoning, we'll know today is truly an unlucky day. And for a no-bake recipe, get ready to use all of your dishes again.

I made a couple of substitutions here: I can't get Nilla Wafers anywhere, so I used Digestive Biscuits. Also, I can't find crushed pineapple in this country and I don't know what size “a small can” is, so I used two tiny cans of pineapple rings, which I pulverised way beyond “crushed” in my food processor. 

Anyway, it's way less bad than I thought it would be, but I still think it probably counts as a disaster. Eleanor may have liked it (there's a note in her handwriting that reads “delicious” in the top corner), but I think we're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one. In the 1960s it might have been awesome, but today it's kind of just a mess that reminds me of something that would have been served at a church potluck when I was a kid.

The verdict:

1 spoon out of five. I think it still deserves a single spoon because the recipe clearly worked the way that it was supposed to, it's just that the flavour combination and texture and its general existence are not really appetising. I do, however, feel like this is a fixable recipe: what if the cookie layers were cubed angel food cake? Or there was a layer of white cake, then pineapple filling, then a white cake layer and then the custard/whipped cream combo was the frosting? It's probably possible to fix this up into something edible, but if you make it as listed here, it's probably not going to be great. Unless you just really like canned pineapple, I guess.

The recipe:

French Pudding

The ingredients:

8 oz Nilla Wafers or digestive biscuits, crushed
4 oz butter
1 ¾ c powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 c whipping cream
1 small can crushed pineapple, or 2 small cans pineapple rings, crushed in a blender or food processor
½ c chopped nuts (I used pecans)


Sprinkle half of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, as evenly as possible.
Cream butter, powdered sugar, and eggs until well-mixed, then pour it into the pan on top of the crumbs.
Whip the cream until fluffy, then spoon it evenly over the butter mixture in the pan.
Spoon the crushed pineapple over the whipped cream evenly.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and the remaining cookie crumbs over the pineapple and press down gently.
Refrigerate until ready to eat, so, basically refrigerate forever.

Yields a 9x13 pan of pudding, and if you could find 35 people who wanted to eat it, I bet it would comfortably feed all of them.