Sunday, December 26, 2010

Figgy Pudding

Found this online:
Traditional Christmas pudding referred to in the carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Recipe (and text) by Mitchel Whitington
That 16th century carole from the West county of England we sing every Christmas repeatedly refers to figgy pudding. And I've always wondered, "what the heck is figgy pudding?" My research not only turned up a great pudding recipe but it also revealed just what pudding really is and what it isn't. Puddings didn't used to be the artificially flavored custard-like desserts found in plastic cups that are inserted into kids school lunch boxes. They were more like the bread pudding we make today.
You really need a pudding mold for this recipe [Note: Sarah used a Pyrex bowl]. You can buy an inexpensive metal one from any kitchen supply store. Just make sure the mold will hold at least 2 liters or 2 1/2 quarts.

1 pound dried Calimyrna figs, stemed and chopped
1 3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
Brandied hard sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 F [Note: Sarah used a steamer insert in a big, lidded pasta pot on the stovetop to steam pudding]. In a 2 quart saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer figs in milk, covered, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Next in a large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add butter, bread crumbs, orange peel and warm fig mixture. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just blended.
Spoon pudding batter into well-buttered mold, cover and place mold in a large Dutch oven. Pour enough hot water into the Dutch oven to cover the bottom 1/3 of the mold. Steam pudding for 2 hours, invert and unmold onto plate. Serve warm with hard sauce drizzled over each serving.
Serves 8

Brandied Hard Sauce
1 1/2 cups confection sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar at medium speed. Add brandy and vanilla and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
Yields 1 cup

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