NORMALLY I’D SHY AWAY from a recipe that boasts 18 ingredients. But when it comes to Dorie Greenspan’s Figgy Pudding, I make an exception. How I love this spicy, fruity, boozy dessert! One bite, and you’ll understand why 19th century carolers proclaimed “We won’t go until we get some.”
Here’s the step-by-step recipe, followed by a printer-friendly, copy-and-paste version:
Bring the works to a boil, and then immediately remove from the heat.
Let flame for 2 minutes. Then extinguish the flames by covering the pot.
And don’t worry — you won’t cause an explosion. The flames will rise only an inch or so above the liqueurs.
Yes, I realize salt is not a spice. It’s a mineral. Please forgive me.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and let the pudding steam quietly for 2 hours.
No picture of this next step, because it’s a two-handed affair: When the pudding is done, bring the stock pot to the sink, and tip out most of the water. This will cause the tube pan to shift, so you can easily retrieve it.
Ahead of time note: You can make this pudding well in advance. When completely cool, wrap it in several layers of cling wrap. To reheat, remove the plastic wrapping, return the pudding to the tube pan in which it was originally baked, and and steam it in the stockpot for 45 minutes.
Now, I would dearly love to serve you a slice of this moist and fragrant deliciousness. But I can’t. You see, I have to save it for a dinner party I’m hosting on Saturday night. For the grand finale, I’ll pour some warmed cognac over the dessert, and flame it at the table. Because that’s what any sensible drama-queen would do.
And here’s a printer-friendly version of the above recipe:
Adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan
12 large, dried figs, finely diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dark rum
1/3 cup cognac or brandy (plus more, for flaming)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
Extra butter for greasing the tube pan
Special Equipment – a non-stick tube pan that holds at least 8 cups; a stockpot, wide enough to hold the tube pan; a kitchen towel, which will act as a cushion between stockpot and tube pan; a saucepan that holds at least 6 cups; a wire whisk.
Butter the tube pan extremely well.
1. Put the chopped figs and 1/2 cup of water in the saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until much of the water has evaporated.
2. Add the cognac, the rum, and the raisins to the figs. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Ignite the liquid with a match, and let it flame for 2 minutes. Then extinguish the flames by covering the pot.
3. Using either a whisk or a food processor, blend together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt; set aside.
4. By hand or with the help of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar until they are thoroughly blended. Then use a rubber spatula to incorporate first the bread crumbs, then the melted butter, then the fig mixture and all of its liquid, then the dry ingredients from step 3. Finally, fold in the cherries and cranberries.
5. Scrape the batter into the tube pan, and seal the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place a folded kitchen towel in the bottom of the stockpot, and lower the tube pan onto the towel. Fill the pot with enough hot water to come 1/2 to 2/3 up the sides of the tube pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Tightly seal the top of the stockpot with both aluminum foil and a lid. Let the pudding steam gently for 2 hours.
6. Remove lid and foil from the stockpot, and bring the pot to the kitchen sink. Tilt the pot to pour off most of the water; tilting will cause the tube pan to sit upright along the long side of the stockpot, thus making it easy to retrieve. Set the pudding on a wire rack, remove its foil seal, and let cool for 5 minutes.
7. Run a plastic knife between pudding and tube pan. To unmold, place the wire rack over the tube pan and invert the two. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
8. To flame the pudding, gently heat (do not boil) 1/3 cup of cognac in a saucepan. Pour the liqueur over the pudding, then ignite with a match. The flames will die out within seconds.
My taste-tester and I enjoyed this pudding with no accompaniment whatsoever. You, however, might like to serve it with whipped cream or ice cream.
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