Question: We live six months of the year in Mexico where prune juice, which I need in my diet, is unavailable. I will take dried prunes which I can cook and puree in my food processor, but I need to know the proportion of water to prunes to achieve the consistency of the commercial product. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.
Answer: According to the Prune Board's home economist, prune juice comparable to the commercial product may be made by combining 5 parts water to 1 part prunes in a saucepan. If the prunes contain pits, boil the mixture for 4 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching or browning. Filter out the pits, checking carefully for any fragments, then puree in a food processor. When using pitted prunes, the mixture should be boiled 3 hours before being pureed.
Q: I want to bake the chocolate cake featured in the Times Food Section Dec. 4. I have been to four stores, but cannot find malt vinegar. Where do you get it, or can I substitute regular vinegar?
A: Both H. J. Heinz Co. and Reese of California distribute malt vinegar. The Heinz product is available at Ralphs Grocery Co.; the Reese at Von's Grocery Co., Hughes Markets, Gelson's Markets, Westward Ho Markets and Vicente Foods Market. And yes, the cake may be prepared using regular vinegar.
Q: What has happened to the small (3-ounce) size of lemon pie filling which needs to be cooked? I use it for those marvelous lemon pound cakes. Can you help?
A: The local office of General Foods, makers of Jell-O lemon flavor pudding and pie filling, tells us the 3-ounce size package can be found in Safeway Stores, Inc., Gelson's Markets and Pantry Food Markets. It is also available at Big Bear stores in the San Diego area.
Q: Help please. I am unable to obtain orange cake mix in my area. How do you make Harvey Wallbanger cake without it? Please answer as we have three bottles of Galliano in the cabinet just waiting to be used.
A: Since the orange cake mix is no longer available, the Times Test Kitchen developed this very similar recipe using a yellow cake mix and orange extract. Be certain to use the cake mix without pudding added.
REVISED HARVEY WALLBANGER CAKE
1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3 1/8-ounce) package vanilla pudding and pie filling
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Galliano
2 tablespoons vodka
1 teaspoon orange extract
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, orange juice, Galliano, vodka and orange extract. Beat on low speed 30 seconds, then medium speed 5 minutes. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes or until wood pick inserted comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack and pour glaze over while cake is still warm. Cool. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon Galliano
1 teaspoon vodka
Combine powdered sugar, orange juice, Galliano and vodka.