Last-Minute Date Raptures

I’ve been waiting for long winter days to try some of the many varieties of puddings that used to be popular. I’m not talking about the cornstarch custards that we generally call “pudding”, but the baked and steamed varieties that must have been a common dessert option up through the 1950s based on the number of recipes that I encounter in my old cookbook collection.
Not only have puddings fallen by the wayside, but some of the ingredients that were very popular have also become much less favored. I’m talking especially about dates and prunes. It seems they used to be highly prized in desserts, but now you’d be hard-pressed to find them on the dessert table even at a church supper.
I know these “raptures” look suspiciously like muffins, but they are a little different. They are meant to be served warm and they are so moist and delicate that they fall apart pretty easily. The main ingredient is dates which are luxuriously sweet and gooey. I love the date orange combination. It seems sunny and Mediterranean- perfect for a winter day.

History:: Once again from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook from 1950. Betty describes them as “Delicate, luscious with fruit… fresh from the oven, they really are raptures.”

Time and Effort: Nothing difficult or time-consuming. However, the recipe says it makes 6, while I found that it made 9.

Worth Adding to your Repertoire:
Yes! They’re delicious!

Sift together into bowl…
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C soft shortening
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1/3 C buttermilk or sour milk
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind

Beat until smooth
Blend in 1 cup cut-up dates
Pour into greased muffin cups (2/3 full).
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes
Makes 6
Serve hot. Pour over them
Sweetened Orange juice
3/4 C orange juice
1/4 C sugar
Let the juice soak into the warm cakes.