Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Duff and Nothing but the Duff! I did it Donna!

Happy Friday Everyone!  
Donna Sooy-Simmerman
This blog is a special tribute blog.  It contains the recipe for a very special dish.  The dish is called "Blueberry Duff".   The story goes that it was my husbands favorite dessert that his mother made for him as a child and adult.  He never knew the recipe.  Sadly she passed away 12 years ago,  Her birthday would have been today, October 15th.  This is always a hard time for my husband so I thought, what better way to cheer him up then finally after 11 years together, I am going to nail this duff thing.  As you saw in a previous blog I tried what I thought was definitely going to be "IT" a few days ago.  Wrong!  All along my husband has been saying..."I think its just as simple as blueberries in a white cake and blueberries in cornstarch pudding".  Well, my husband always seems to have the answers and I thought it had to be wrong, because this HUGELY amazing dessert had to be some labor of love his mother went through each time she made it.  I have tried several ways, several recipes, several made up dishes, all with no luck.  Well as luck would have it my father in law was going to visit Aunt Doris, my late mother in law's sister.   The good news came, "She HAD the recipe".  My husband called his dad, I had a paper and pen in hand, and was ready to take it down word for word so I could surprise my husband ON what would have been in mother's birthday.  Imagine my shock, when my husband said, "I was right, its blueberries in a white cake and blueberries in cornstarch pudding".  Oh no, he was right again.  How am I ever going to even this score.  I thought to myself, self....after 11 years of brushing him off like a black dog hair on a white suit, he was right all along?!?!  
1965 Donna and Hoss
Okinawa, Japan
I am so happy to share this simple recipe with you.  I find sometimes food is like love and relationships, things don't need to be complicated.  Simple is less work and more fun.   I love listening to stories about my husbands mom.  I hear stories of love, and devotion as a mother.  A kind heart, and her calling my husband who is nicknamed Hoss, "Hossybug" as a child.  Waking him on Christmas morning, even as an adult telling him "Santa's been here".  A woman who loved holidays and the spirit of of giving ran deep within her.  I know how proud she was to be a mother.  I am told by family that it was her greatest joy in life.  She didn't seem to need fancy things, even though, like all of us, she loved them!  My husband jokes that she may not have been the best cook, but it doesn't matter, he says.."She put so much love in everything it made up for it".  She cooked simple food, and did her best to take care of her sons.  Making my husband food the way HE liked it, and spoiling him rotten!  Thanks for that Donna!   Now lets get to the SIMPLE pleasure that is...

Blueberry Duff
White cake mix
1 cup blueberries (I used frozen, and let them macerate in about 2 tbsp sugar for an hour)
Prepare cake per package directions.  Fold in blueberries just before baking. You can bake in a 9x13 pan or prepare as cupcakes which is what I did.  When cake is done, let sit and cool completely.  Cover until you are ready to serve
Topping (Cornstarch Pudding, recipe from Argo website on a few changes)
3 1/2 cups of milk, divided
6 tbsp corn starch
2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix 1/2 cup cold milk with corn starch. Set aside. Heat remaining 3 cups milk in a large, heavy sauce pan over medium heat until milk just begins to simmer (small bubbles around the edge of the pan).

While milk is heating, beat the egg yolks with a whisk or fork in a small bowl. Add salt and sugar to the eggs, then add egg mixture to the corn starch mixture.

When milk is simmering, stir in the corn starch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

To Serve:
Plate a piece of cake.  Take 1/2 cup of cornstarch pudding, and put in a small bowl and microwave for approx 1min, until slightly loosened and hot.  Pour directly over the cake or cupcake and serve.  
Donna and Hoss 1965

Now, go call your mother if you can, tell her you love her.  If there are problems in your relationship with her, FIX them.  Kiss her, hug her, and thank her for being your mom.  You only get one mother, love her, cherish her, and respect her with everything you have.  Do not hold grudges, do not keep score, and learn to forgive often.  People do not last forever, memories do.  Make so many you think your head will explode and never miss a chance to make more!  
Hoss, and his BlueBerry Duff!

Make this recipe!  Make it for your mom!  Mom's make it for your kids!  Find a special dish, that your children will remember so fondly when THEY are 46 years old!  When I put the plate in front of my husband he said, "It smells like mom has been here".   I can't bring her back, but I can bring him a piece of the past, that embodies so much love, he almost can't eat because he is smiling so big!

To the mother-in-law I never knew........
We never met in this life
But I feel like I know you,
I am your son's wife.
He says there is so much about me 
that is just like you.  He says you are his
angel and you made his dream come true.
How could this woman who's son I love
fade so quickly to up above
I never got to thank you, I never got to say
Thank you for the son you raised, I see you
in him everyday.  
The things I hear about you, your kind and loving
heart. I see it everyday in Hoss, I have right from the start.
His heart remains sad, he will never get over, the
loss of you, his most beloved mother.  


  1. Glad you found it, your hubby looks happy with it!!!

  2. Thank you!!! He was very happy and I am so thankful I can move on too! HAHA

  3. Christine...wonderful story and he looks so happy!! Going to try this this weekend!!

  4. Awesome tribute! Sweet! Hoss is lucky to have you too!