December 8, 2008

Make a REAL Figgy Pudding!

"Oh, bring us a figgy pudding, oh, bring us a figgy pudding, oh, bring us a figgy pudding and bring it right now!"

Sure, you've heard of figgy pudding but I'm willing to bet that even though it's been around for more that 600 years, you've never tasted one let alone prepared one. Well, girls, this is the year to change all that.

First, let's get rid of the confusion about the word "pudding." Figgy pudding isn't something you mix with milk and top with Cool Whip. This kind of pudding is really a dense, moist cake that is steamed instead of baked. It is very easy to make, it's yummy (a lot like carrot or spice cake), and it's sure to be a hit at the holiday dinner table.

According to Better Homes & Gardens, "The original figgy pudding, thought to have been created sometime in the 1400s, was a dish of dried figs, dates, raisins, and spices boiled in almond milk." Speaking of Better Homes & Gardens, I've been using the magazine's recipe since December '02 when it first appeared and I've made a lot of puddings since then. This year, I invite you to be an adventurous woman and give it a try. If you're feeling really adventurous, try the flaming presentation described at the end of the recipe. Oh, don't forget the Hard Sauce!

Tastes a lot like a warm, moist spice cake. Yum.
Stand: overnight
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Cool: 10 minutes
Serves: 8

½ cup snipped dried figs *
¼ cup orange liquor (triple sec, grand Marnier, Cointreau or curacao) or orange juice
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup milk
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup coarsely chopped almonds
¼ cup walnut pieces
¼ cup brandy (for impressive presentation option)
1 recipe Hard Sauce (follows)

1. Soak figs in orange liquor (or orange juice) overnight. In a bowl beat together butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until combined. Add flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, and pepper; beat on medium speed until combined. Stir in undrained figs, bread crumbs, eggs, milk, dates, raisins, almonds, and walnuts until combined.
2. Butter (or coat with nonstick cooking spray) a 1-quart heatproof pudding mold, bowl or casserole. Spoon batter into the pudding mold and cover the top with a double layer of aluminum foil. Press foil firmly around edges of mold to seal. Place pudding mold on a rack in a deep pot. (Rack can be a small cookie rack, or several tuna-sized cans with the tops and bottoms cut out.) Add boiling water to a depth of about 1 inch. Put lid on pot. Bring to a gentle boil and steam for 60-75 minutes or until a long wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Add more boiling water to the pot as necessary. (AWB: check every so often to make sure the pot does not boil dry.)
3. Remove mold from pot. Cool pudding for 10 minutes; remove pudding from mold. Serve slices with Hard Sauce.
4. Impressive presentation option: If desired, just before serving, heat brandy in a small saucepan until it almost simmers. Carefully ignite brandy with a long match. Pour over pudding. Serve immediately with Hard Sauce.

Hard Sauce: In a small mixing bowl beat together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, ¼ cup softened butter, and 2 tablespoons brandy (or ½ teaspoons vanilla) with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Cover and chill to harden, about 30 minutes. Makes ½ cup.

*Snipping figs is easier if you lightly coat your scissors with vegetable oil. Dried figs can get quite hard. If your figs aren’t snippable, microwave them along with a teaspoon of water for about a minute or until they soften.

Plagiarized from Better Homes and Gardens; December 2002


Cyndeez said...

Thanks for the recipe! Can't wait to try this. Sounds yummy, I was always curious about the song and what Figgy pudding is. I'll be taking this to my families for Christmas. Last year I took Wassail. :)

Cyndeez said...

Thanks for the recipe, I can't wait to make this Figgy Pudding, I've always been curious about the song and what it was exactly, last year I made Wassail so this year I'm taking Figgy Pudding to my family for Christmas. :) Thanks again, it sounds yummy!

Michaelle said...

I hope you and the family enjoy it! Happy holidays!