Jeanette C. Van Duyn on Making ‘Apricot Maizena Mould’

"Take fresh stewed or canned apricots, and drain them from the syrup. Strain the syrup and put into a saucepan over the fire to heat. To every cup of syrup allow 2 level tablespoons of maizena, and mix with a little water. When the syrup reaches boiling point gradually stir in the maizena allow to cook for five minutes. If not sweet enough, add a little sugar. Pour into a wet ring mould, and when cold and firm, serve with the fruit in the centre."

Jeanette C. Van Duyn, Canning, Preserving, Pickling and Fruit Desserts (1921)

This exotic-sounding dessert dish piqued my interest when I glanced through the source volume in question. Maizena? I’d never heard of it before. Whatever could it be? Some sort of rare spice, perhaps?

Nope. Maizena is a brand of corn starch or, as we know it in the UK, cornflour.1Pretty obvious when you think about it. The first syllable is a very strong clue. So what we have here sounds like a ring of (sticky, syrupy?) solidified cornflour, served cold with stewed apricots in the middle. Actually that doesn’t sound too bad and it’s gluten free as well. Maybe I should invest in a ring mould and give this one a go?

There’s another recipe in the same book, ‘Lemon Cornstarch Mould’, which calls for mixing cornstarch and sugar then boiling it in water, with the addition of lemon and two egg whites, which is then served with a custard made from the yolks. We’re heading into school dinner semolina pudding territory there, but I still think it might have some potential.

How about you? Is is this a dish you’d be eager to try? Do you make something similar on a regular basis? Do you have any other cornstarch pudding recipe ideas to share? Please do let me know, via the comments.


  • 1
    Pretty obvious when you think about it. The first syllable is a very strong clue.

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