(Reposted from Dec. 3, 2010) LAST NIGHT — and mostly out of sheer curiosity — I made the Figgy Pudding of Christmas carol fame. I’ll admit the recipe I adapted (from Dorie Greenspan) is not an easy one; it involves 18 ingredients, and also a half-hour of prep time. Make that one hour of prep if you stop to take photographs along the way, as I did. But I think the final product, pictured up top, is well worth the time. For Figgy Pudding is spicy-fruity-boozey-delicious. Furthermore, you get to flame this dessert at the table. Now that’s fun!
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. An electric mixer (outfitted with a wire whisk) is helpful, but not essential.
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 liquor of 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.
If you enjoy the recipes I test (or invent) for you, please let me know. Either click the “like” button or post a comment below. Even better…do both.
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