From 1946 to 1950, I attended Withrow High School, at that time a prestigious school with a beautiful campus in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park. I traveled by streetcar from our home in the not-so-prestigious area called the East End to this beautiful place which also had an enormous cafeteria with an extensive lunch menu. I tried dishes here that were brand-new to me. One of my favorites was a dessert called Date Pudding. I loved the gooey pudding with crunchy walnuts and a dab of whipped cream (well before the era of Cool Whip).
After I left Withrow, I tried date pudding at restaurants without finding one that was similar to the cafeteria version. When I started cooking, I tried out a lot of recipes and found some good ones, but not quite the right one. Then, I found this one in 1989 (not sure where it turned up) and it was what I was looking for. In my recipe binder I have a note, “2/25/89 – excellent. Like Withrow H.S.’s in late 1940s.”
WITHROW'S DATE PUDDING
- 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1-1/2 cups hot water
- 2 Tblsp. butter
Place the sugar, water and butter in a medium saucepan and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the rest of the dessert.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tblsp. baking powder
- 1 cup coarsely chopped dates
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a 9×9 baking dish mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in the chopped dates and nuts….
….then the milk and vanilla.
Mix together just until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed. Spread out evenly in the baking dish.
Pour the warm syrup over the top and set baking dish on a large pan to catch spills.
Bake @ 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm with a little of the sauce from the bottom of the baking dish and a bit of whipped cream or topping.
This is also good at room temperature. It is very rich – small servings are advised.
Makes 12 servings.
I eat a few bites and I’m transported back to Withrow’s noisy, crowded cafeteria and a special lunchtime treat.