Coffee Cream

This pudding isn’t exactly exciting looking, it is after all beige and it’s what granny would have called “a shape”. I adapted this recipe from a Margeurite Patten one which was actually in the section of “food for the elderly”. It uses up half a can of evaporated milk and as I often have exactly that much left over from doing a particular pasta dish, I thought I would give it a try.

1/2 large can evaporated milk
2oz sugar
3 heaped dessertspoons cornflour
1 tsp instant coffee granules

Make the evaporated milk up to one pint with water. Blend the cornflour, sugar and coffee with some of the milk. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil. Pour onto the blended mixture and stir well. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil again. Continue cooking, stirring all the time until it has thickened.

Pour the mixture into a mould. Leave to cool and set which will take several hours.

If you can remember Symington Table Creams, this pudding tastes and has a similar texture to those puddings. I read somewhere that you can still get the Symington ones but I haven’t seen them for years.

Basically it’s a very thick custard mixture which sets when it is cool. The sky’s the limit flavour-wise with this sort of recipe because you can add any kind of flavouring you fancy.

The original recipe called for vanilla essence but I tried coffee, in future I’m going to add some booze, probably Bailey’s Irish Cream. I’ll also try cocoa and I’m going to have a go at Maple and Walnut which was my favourite Symington one, I’ll use maple syrup instead of sugar but I’m not sure about the walnut flavour. Is there such a thing as walnut or pecan essence?

This is a very simple store-cupboard dessert, but it’s still tasty.

31 thoughts on “Coffee Cream

    • Rob,
      Thanks for the info. The coffee, and maple and walnut flavours seem to be everyones favourite so it seems very strange that Dr Oetker decided to drop them. Maybe they’ll think better of it in the future.

  1. What a pity Dr Oetker dropped Maple & Walnut table cream. Must have been based on some pretty flakey market research because it seems to be everyone’s favorite in my experience.

    I’m trying to come up with my own substitute, either from scratch or by adding m&W flavouring to the vanilla version.
    I’ve looked everywhere for a maple and walnut flavouring. I can find maple and I can find walnut but not the two together. Looks like time to start experimenting to get the right ratio.

    • Rob,

      Thanks for the comment, as you say, the Maple and Walnut was a big favourite with most people. I can only think that maybe the profit margin wasn’t good enough for Dr Oetker, anything nutty tends to be expensive and the same goes for maple. It might be worth your while giving the coffee cream recipe a go because it does taste quite similar to maple and walnut. Please let me know if you come up with a good recipe to follow!


  2. Hello,
    I received an email from Dr O today 4/11/13 to say they have discontinued all of the Symingtons products due to lack of demand. So it is now a case of make your own.

    • Laurence,
      That’s a shame, I think that Dr O didn’t do much to help with demand for the product. I couldn’t get the table creams in my local supermarkets. Thanks for the info though.


  3. Great idea, will try the recipe as I have also been searching for them. I too loved the maple walnut best.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Something I’m looking forward to tasting when I come! Not something we see here. Atleast I’ve not seen them. Not sure how much 3 dessertspoons would equal, what if my dessert spoon is a different size than yours?

    • Peggy Ann,
      We can get standardised sets of measures in cook shops, so each teaspoon measure should be the same. I usually do a recipe once and then adjust it to my own taste the next time anyway.

  5. Why o why have Oether stopped making Symington`s Table Cream`s? They are lovely all of my family are very sad I cannot get them any more.

  6. You’re a life saver, I’ve been looking for Symingtons Table Cream for a while, hadn’t realised they had discontinued it.

    Kind of a shame, but then I hadn’t bought any for a few years, its just one of those comfort things that you fancy now and again 🙂 I guess that’s not good enough for business these days.

    Going to give it a go tonight with some maple syrup. This post is doing well, 4 and a half years and counting!

    • Alex,
      Yes, I couldn’t have told you it was 4 and a half years since I wrote that post. I hope you enjoy your home- made table cream, it’s a while since I made it and you’ve put me in the mood for it.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  7. I found your page when searching for a source of Maple and Walnut Table Cream, having just made up my last packet. What was my horror when finding that Dr Oetker has succeeded in dumping it. Why buy it if they don’t want it?
    Still having the packet, I know that the ingredients are, in order, Sugar, Cornflour, Dextrose, Gelatine, Beta-carotene, Malt extract, flavouring and salt. The gelatine would account for the difference between a table cream and blancmange. So I have carried out a little research in a historic recipe book, “Tried Favourites” by Mrs Kirk, an economical Scots lady, who invisaged her book being given to every bride. This particular copy does not seem to have been much tried.
    Despite her claim to be much more thrifty than Mrs Beeton, most of her recipes with the name cream in them actually involve cream. Gelatine abounds, often with eggs. It looks to me as if the original Symingtons mixes were intended to produce similar results without either cream or eggs.
    I found one recipe which includes cornflour and gelatine, “Crystal Palace Pudding”. 1/2 oz gelatine, 3/4 pint milk, 2 teasps cornflour, 2 oz sugar, 2 egg yolks. 1/2 teasp vanilla essence. glace cherries to decorate.
    Dissolve the gelatine and sugar in some of the milk in a saucepan, mix the cornflour with half a cup of the milk and add that. Bring to the boil with all the milk and stir for 5 minutes at the boil. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and yolks, mix well in, and pour into a wet mould.
    I’m going to try substituting a dessertspoon of cornflour for each yolk, and maple syrup for the sugar (definitely less than Symingtons), testing for flavour. Only, before I do, I’m going to get some broken walnuts, break them some more, and pour the maple syrup over them, and leave them a while to flavour the syrup, then strain it. I’m sure I can think of something to do with the nuts.
    Meanwhile, I’ll be savouring the last of the Table Creams.

    • Penny,
      That sounds interesting, I wonder if adding some walnut oil would help with the flavour. I must do a bit of experimenting soon. I’ll try your recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Thank you for answering so promptly – I saw the dates of other comments, and didn’t expect anything so quickly! I wondered about oil, but I thought it might not sit well with the other ingredients. I had a look in Lakeland, but their flavouring range doesn’t have walnut, only hazelnut.
        If you ever get a chance to see a copy of Mrs Kirk’s book, it is a hoot and a delight. Adverts for long lost patent foods, iron ranges… And recipes which would horrify most people now. Sheep’s head, Kidney Shape, Stewed Lettuce, and my favourite – how to make meat which is a little doubtful from having been kept too long sound and healthful.

        • Penny,
          That book does sound a scream. The kidney shape reminds me of Granny’s ‘white shape’ which was rabbit but she didn’t admit that in case people turned up their nose at it! I know what you mean about the walnut oil, you would think that there would be some sort of walnut essence or extract available, but apparently not.

          • I think I now have evidence that the redoubtable Mrs Kirk did not try all her recipes. Although Symingtons managed it, heating gelatine with milk turns out to be a no-no. (Confirmed by Good Housekeeping, and Dr Oetker.) I have a lovely maply-walnuty flavour and the correct colour. But part way through the heating, there appeared a mass of rubbery curds, as if I were making ricotta. (This was referenced in GH.) These broke down with continuous whisking, and I did get a set, but it has a texture which isn’t right. I’m going to try a different method. Dissolve the gelatine in hot water until there are no particles visible. Mix the syrup and nuts with the milk and heat. Run through a sieve. Use this with the custard method and two dessertspoons cornflour, and when it has been boiled to break down the starch grains, remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine thoroughly. Then mould, cool etc. GH does a nursery cream using jelly and blancmange that uses this method. Oetker says never boil gelatine. (I had to use their gelatine – Davis went to Supercook went to the black hole of desserts. I could have tried leaf, but hadn’t any at the moment.) So do other sources, but Symingtons did use a boil in the method.

          • Penny,
            I’ve only ever used leaf gelatine, mainly for doing Delia’s champagne jellies, but I don’t use champagne as we don’t like it, I use sparkling fruit wine. I’ve never had a problem with rubberiness with the leaf kind. I think that the recipe for Vanilla Cream from M. Patten’s Every Day Cook Book is quite good and it just calls for 1 and a half ounces of cornflour to half a large can of evaporated milk, 2 oz sugar and vanilla essence or whatever you want to try for flavouring. This recipe is under the ‘cooking for the elderly’ section. It’s a very small section which includes creamed tripe!

          • I have now had a success. Between 60 and 100 ml Canadian No 2 Amber Maple Syrup according to taste. About 30 g walnut pieces, smashed in a mortar, and steeped in the syrup overnight. (I think that some of the colour comes from the nut skin.) 1 pint whole milk, warmed with the syrup and nuts, then strained. 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with a couple of tablespoons of the milk, the milk brought to the boil and added to the cornflour. All put back into the pan and boiled until thickened. Then 1 packet powdered gelatine dissolved in a little water and stirred in, before putting the mould and chilling overnight. You could probably use the syrup and nuts flavouring with your evaporated milk version, anyway. I found the texture more like Symingtons than just cornflour. I’m now going to investigate Honeycomb Mould, which again seems to involve boiling gelatine. With milk. For ages. I used to be responsible for making that for Sunday lunch when it came in a packet.

          • Penny,
            Things were so much easier when they came in a packet. I might have a go at your version although I think I’ll try it with the sheet/veggie gelatine. I had no idea that Maple Syrup was numbered!

  8. Forgot to add, if I had half a can of evaporated milk, I’d probably make gypsy tart. Marmite to school dinners in Kent. Some girls couldn’t stand it. Local bakers still supply those of us who could. Basically a mix of the well-whisked milk and soft brown sugar gently cooked in a pie case.
    Mrs Kirk had a section for the elderly, and the sick. Having read it, I would feel, if to be fed by a devotee, that, like living under a certain recent Prime Minister, one should not allow oneself to become old, or sick. “Cake, if given, must be very plain and not new.” “Fish is apt to be too stimulating,,,” “No pastry or rich puddings.”

    • Penny,
      I’m sure I’ve seen a recipe for gypsy tart in one of my books, but I’ve never tried it and never eaten it, unless under a different name. I fancy the sound of it, presumably it has a sort of toffee-ish flavour.
      Ha, I’m assuming you mean the horrific milk-snatcher Thatcher. It drives me round the bend the way younger people can think that she ‘saved this country’ when in fact she sold it all off and started the downward spiral. I read that when her bedridden beloved father died she hadn’t visited him for 9 years. Maybe Mrs Kirk was her sister!

      • If you look up gypsy tart on line, you will find a number of recipes to try. Avoid any that include any ingredients but evaporated milk (whole milk, not low fat) and brown sugar. I suspect the school did not use muscovado, but soft brown, as that is what the cook told me. The pie crust is negotiable. The milk should be whisked cold until it is very thick before adding the sugar and whisking continued. The aim is a texture like zabaglione. The flavour is in the toffee range. It is very rich, and not to be over indulged in. (When I was at school, I used to eat about 4 portions, as other girls abjured it like Marmite, but put on no weight as we had 10 and 20 minute walks between school buildings several times a day.)

        • Penny,
          Thanks I’m definitely going to give gypsy tart a go as it sounds delicious.
          I was thin as a rake at school and until I was about 35, probably because I also did a lot of walking, to and from school, I still do walk a lot but sadly the waistline has expanded.

  9. Maple syrup No 2 is darker and has a more intense flavour than No 1.

    I think the veggie jelly may behave quite differently. I think it is possible to boil agar. More research needed.

  10. Nice to see I’m not alone in my quest for replacing symingtons table cream, living in oz now I thought they just didn’t stock it here. We were talking amongst our family about favourite childhood foods in the UK and the consensus was that we all loved the vanilla flavour . All my children were involved in making it at least once a week.
    Thanks everyone for previous posts, am going to have a go at the recipes put forward. I think I might try the baileys suggestion as its Christmas time and the bottle will be open very soon…

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