My aunty had the sweetest of sweet teeth… if she could have had puddings, chocolates and creamy desserts for breakfast, lunch and dinner I’m sure she would have… and elevensies, afternoon tea and supper too. She was very good at making them too, so whenever there was a Christmas party the table would be groaning under the weight of them. One of her specialities, which actually was quite simple and was only made earlier on in her entertaining, before she went to cookery classes, was fluff, Mrs Walder’s fluff.
Fluff was such a simple dessert but infinitely variable; it was jelly made up partly with water as usual but partly with the juice from tinned fruit such as tangerines or raspberries and evaporated milk. It was left to begin to set, and then just when it was beginning to turn from liquid to jelly it had to be whipped so it became light and… fluffy! When I had children and they had friends to tea, or birthday parties, I would make fluff, but b then it was Aunty Audrey’s fluff, Mrs Walder long forgotten. I thought it was just a recipe invented if not by Mrs W then by some friend of hers, so I was quite surprised to find it by chance in Modern practical Cookery which was published in the early 1930’s as far as i can tell.
There are three fluff recipes, orange, raspberry and wine – so Mrs Walder’s idea of tangerines and raspberries may have come here, although hers are by far easier with a block of jelly and tins of fruit and evaporated milk.
- 3 yolks and 2 whites of egg
- ½ pint milk, hot but not boiling
- 2-3 tsp castor sugar
- 3/8 oz of leaf gelatine
- ½ gill water
- orange essence
- angelica and finely sliced rounds of orange peel to decorate
- beat the yolks and add to the hot milk, strain then cook in a bain marie or bowl over but not touching hot water
- stir well until custard thickens
- add gelatine to water and slowly heat to dissolve slowly
- strain into the custard and add sugar and essence to taste
- whip whites until stiff and when the orange jelly/custard is just beginning to set, fold in
- turn into soufflé cases (or ramekins, or a lovely serving dish) and decorate with the angelica and peel
The raspberry fluff is not made in the same way – the raspberries are rubbed through a sieve and added with to gelatine dissolved in water (also colouring but I’d hardly think you’d need it!) The whipped egg whites are folded in as it begins to set (no yolks) and when set served with cream, custard or unsweetened condensed milk, a few fresh raspberries and meringue finger biscuits.
Wine fluff which is definitely not for children’s tea parties is made with port or sherry, finely chopped and blanched almonds, lemon zest and juice, egg (yolk and beaten white) and decorated with crushed crystallised violets… I’m not sure that really appeals to me, but it sounds interesting!