Grandma Pellegrini has these faintly pink glass bowls in her house. She’s had them since the 1930’s. She and her sister (my great-aunt) lived together in New York City when they were working girls.

I like that she still has them.

She served me a pudding in them that I would like to tell you about, because it was a spectacular pudding. She has a way with puddings, she really does. She’s also good at making recipes up and having them turn out well — good kitchen instincts.

She made this pudding from dried fruit, which she re-hydrated by stewing it in a pot with water… then she mixed in some nuts and other things. I wrote it all down and put it in my book. I’ll give it to you in September, I promise.

She also has old fashioned silver silverware. The kind you’d expect to see in a Brontë novel.

The kind that makes you want to have high tea every day at 4pm without fail.

The kind that makes you want to wear a corset.

Well, maybe not that. Maybe just the wig.

Anyway, she did something very creative with this pudding to give it some intrigue while still keeping it healthy. Can you guess what this is in the glass pitcher?

Kefir. Strawberry flavored. My favorite. A drinkable yogurt that is intensely good for you. I happen to have a recipe for that also! (September, I promise).

So what you end up with is a very simple delicious dessert, with really simple, really pure ingredients, all of which you can pronounce… actually, can you pronounce acidophilus? Well, it’s a good one, just trust me.

The bowls and the kefir vaguely matched. A color coordinated dessert.

She tried to remember important details to answer Gordon’s questions.

They talked about photography while I focused on the pudding… that’s how I am, I always focus on the pudding.

"Dried Fruit Pudding"

Adapted from my grandmother Frances Pellegrini. Recipe printed in Food Heroes Serve topped with homemade kefir
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 4 servings


For stewed pudding:

  • 7 or 8 dried unsulphured persimmons apricots, or mangoes
  • 3 pieces dried papaya about 4 inches long
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup silken tofu or plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For baked pudding, add:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup soy milk or regular milk
  • 1/2 cup pecans


To make stewed pudding:

  • Put the dried fruit, cinnamon, salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and cook at a low simmer for about 30 minutes, until the fruit is reconstituted and tender. Let cool slightly, then put the fruit and liquid in a food processor and add the tofu. Pulse until smooth, adding the lemon juice along the way, and there you have a quick warm pudding. This pudding is particularly good chilled or slightly frozen, which turns it into a creamy sorbet.

To make baked pudding:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Add the eggs and milk to the mixture in the food processor and blend. Add the pecans and pulse 10 times. Pour the mixture into an oven-safe glass bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water. Bake for 1 hour until the surface no longer jiggles. Scoop out portions to serve