Saturday, January 26, 2008

Little Watkins Vanilla Meets Surprise Dessert

The Watkins Company has been around since 1868 in Winona, Minnesota - and it still is, their website is here. I was lucky enough to come across several of their early cookbooks from the 1930s. The one I got this picture/ad from was put out in 1938.

The books are filled with recipes of all kinds, each of them including Watkins products - a few grains of Watkins pepper, Watkins Baking Soda, anything really.

Here is something called a "Surprise Dessert." The generic quality of this name would usually make me pretty wary, but it sounds good to me actually. The exception to the rule that a recipe with the word "Surprise" in it probably is not going to end well.

Surprise Dessert

1 Tb gelatin
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup Watkins Shredded Coconut
1/4 tsp Watkins nutmeg
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup orange cubes
1/4 cup sliced bananas
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tsp Watkins Vanilla

Dissolve gelatin in orange juice over hot water [think they mean, in a double boiler]. Mix with sugar, cool, add well-drained crushed pineapple, strawberries, orange cubes, sliced bananas cut fine, chopped almonds and flavoring.
When mixture begins to thicken, fold in 1 cup heavy cream, beaten stiff. Place mixture in hollowed-out sponge cake [Wait a minute, no one said anything about sponge cake! Maybe I don't have a sponge cake!] and set in refrigerator to form.

Before serving, cover cake with sweetened whipped cream, and little Watkins Vanilla.

That's what they say, not "a little Watkins Vanilla." It sounds like Little Orphan Annie's cousin, doesn't it? Maybe she knows how to cut oranges into cubes, because I sure don't.

1 comment:

nbm said...

Garrison Keillor was in Winona, Minn., for his radio show this very evening (Feb. 23) and talked about Watkins -- an enterprise I had never before heard of, and which has now turned up twice in a single night. Go figure.