In 2012, my daughter was just hours old when we e-mailed our family announcing her arrival and revealed her name - Henrietta. My aunt, our family genealogist, wrote back immediately with congratulations and joy, sharing that, unbeknownst to us, our daughter shares a name with her 4th great grandmother. From her database of family history my aunt shared a short paragraph revealing that our daughter’s 4th great grandmother first emigrated from Prussia (now Germany) to the United States in 1852. She soon married and with her husband, they ran a hotel and saloon in Milwaukee for newly arriving immigrants. Her chocolate fudge cake and snow pudding were family favorites. From my hospital bed in California I wrote back asking “what’s snow pudding?” The next morning my aunt e-mailed a photo of a hand written recipe for snow pudding - something that no living relative in our family had ever heard of. With our newborn days old, my mom came to visit and tried to decipher the generations old, hand written recipe in an updated kitchen. After a few tries she got it, and we tasted the light delicate dish for the first time. We now make snow pudding every Christmas in honor of my daughter and her 4th great grandmother's re-discovered family recipe. We updated the original recipe to add some extra lemon zest and raspberries on top. When my daughter was in 1st grade her class began studying families and asked that I bring in snow pudding as our family dish to share with the class. I later got requests from parents whose kids came home asking for more snow pudding. Now in the 2nd grade they are studying immigration, and she is proud to share that her 4th great grandmother (with whom she shares a name) helped new immigrants who came to the US. Through the chance choice in our daughter's name and my aunt's detailed family genealogy records, we are now connected to this piece of our past we would not have otherwise known. I’ve since Googled snow pudding enough times to know it is not specific to our family, the Midwest, or German immigrants, however to our family - it always will be.
1). FOR SNOW: Dissolve package of gelatin in 1/4c cold water. Add in 1c boiling water to continue to dissolve. Add sugar and lemon juice, continuing to stir until fully dissolved. Let cool slightly, then transfer to refrigerator and freezer to cool. Stir occasionally until this is thickened. (At least an hour. If you live in a cold climate you can also put this out in the snow for fun!) When it’s thick, beat with a whisk or hand mixer until frothy. In a serape bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff (until they hold their shape). Add egg whites to relative mixture and beat on low sipped until well mixed. (Mom adds some lemon zest here which was not in the original recipe.) Put in a glass bowl, and put in the refrigerator until firm.
2). FOR CUSTARD SAUCE: Scald milk in small saucepan. In a separate pan (off heat) whisk egg yolks and sugar until well mixed. Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of cold water in a small bowl, then add to the egg yolks and sugar. Gradually stir in the hot milk. (Mom says is important to do this slowly - slowly adding and mixing until well mixed). Add the vanilla and mix. Put the pan on a burner, heat on medium, stirring constantly until it’s thickened. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cool and ready to use.
3). TO SERVE: Spoon the “snow” into serving dish. Drizzle a scoop of custard sauce on top. Add fresh raspberries.