1950’s Eisenhower White House Era Menu – What was Ike’s Favorite Dessert?

     The first Joy of Cooking recipe book had a whole section devoted to whips. According to one source that I read, “Prune Whip achieved its greatest glory in this country in the 1950s, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared it his favorite food.”
     The original recipe calls for raw egg whites that are whipped to add lightness to the dessert. I have adapted it to use pasteurized egg whites or, if you prefer, use whipped cream in place of the whipped egg whites.
     Just in case you’re still not sure about Prune Whip, you might be interested in knowing that it was a quite a hit at the dinner party! It tasted lemony (use fresh lemon for the best taste) and was declared (by most) to be “yummy”!
     Other references I read proposed adding a little vanilla or even some rum to the whip. One source even suggested piling the concoction in a graham cracker crust for Prune Pie.     
       If you’re worried about scaring off your guests with the mention of the “p” word, use the latest prune marketing technique . . . simply state that you’re serving Dried Plum Whip! Or, if you really can’t deal with prunes, try using dried apricots or dried cherries in their place.
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Presidential Prune Whip Recipe
1 (1/4 oz.) envelope Knox® unflavored gelatin
¼ cup cold water
¾ cup hot prune juice

1 cup cooked prune pulp
-- make by stewing prunes (cooking in a little water on low temperature to soften) and then chopping or pureeing in a food processor, or if prunes are already soft and tender, omit the stewing step and just chop)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup granulated sugar

2 pasteurized egg whites or about ½ cup heavy cream – whipped to yield about 1 cup (it just about doubles in volume when whipped)
½ cup chopped nuts
(we omitted as our other dessert also had nuts)
¼ teaspoon salt
Sweetened whipped cream for garnishing, optional
Fresh mint for garnishing, optional

1.  Sprinkle the granules of gelatin evenly over the cold water -- avoid just dumping as the granules in the center will not have a chance to dissolve. Let the gelatin powder rest on the liquid without stirring. Allow 2 to 5 minutes for the gelatin to soften before proceeding with other recipe instructions. (This process is sometimes referred to as allowing the gelatin to “bloom” and ensures the smooth texture of the finished product.)
2.  Add sugar, salt and hot prune juice (this needs to be hot to dissolve the gelatin) and stir until dissolved.
3.  Add prune pulp and lemon juice; mix thoroughly until prunes are at least partially incorporated into liquid. Cool, and when mixture begins to thicken, fold in stiffly beaten egg whites (or use whipped cream if you prefer).
4.  Spoon into small serving dishes. Or, if preferred, pour into a mold. Chill.
5.  When firm, sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. If using a mold, dip the base in warm water and then unmold onto a serving plate. Serve with or without whipped cream; garnish with mint, if desired.

How to Whip Cream
Heavy cream, with its higher butterfat content, whips up better than regular whipping cream.
Start by pouring cold heavy cream into a large mixing bowl with sugar to taste. Whipping cream is easiest to do when the cream and the bowl are both cold. Ideally the cream has been refrigerated for 12 hours or more before whipping. Use a hand or stand mixer. To prevent spatters, use a deep bowl and be sure to turn the mixer on only after the beaters are immersed in the cream.
Follow the recipe, which should specify whether to whip the cream to firm or stiff peaks. To tell which is which, stop the mixer and lift the beaters out of the cream. Both peaks should keep their shape. The tips of soft peaks bow over when you lift the beater. Firm peaks stand pertly.
No matter what, watch carefully when whipping. After soft peaks form, it's a short time until firm peaks develop, and then only a short time until the cream turns into butter.
If the recipe doesn't specify soft or firm—say, if you're whipping cream to serve as a garnish—soft peaks give the cream a lovely look and luscious mouthfeel.
If you're adding flavoring like sugar, liqueur, or extracts, do it at the end of beating.
--from Bon Appetite

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