01 December, 2014

12 Days of Christmas, Day 1: Figgy Pudding

We all know how the song goes, don't we?  You knoooooow....  The second verse of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"??  Yes, that one.  "Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; Oh, bring us a figgy pudding..."  Right.  Well, no one ever brought me one.

*Insert sad face here*

No matter...  I decided this year I will make my own, taking out that middle person what was given the command to bring it to me.  Ha HA!  And...knowing me....we'll go ahead and drizzle some seriously rich, ooey gooey sauce on the top and call it fabulous!

Figgy Pudding
8 ounces of calimyrna figs, diced
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. light brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or vanilla extract
aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350 F

Grease and flour a pudding tin or 4 eight ounce ramekins.  Set the dishes/pudding tin inside a large baking pan lined with a terry cloth kitchen towel and set the pan aside.  Bring a pot of water or kettle of water to a boil.

In a large glass bowl, combine half of your figs with warm water and the baking soda.  This will get to work softening the figs.  Soak them for about 5 minutes.  While they are soaking sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.  I used my stand mixer for this recipe, so the flour went into my stand mixer bowl.  Process the remaining figs and your brown sugar in your food processor (use a Magic Bullet or like machine if you don't have a food processor....pulsing in a good blender will work just fine!) by pulsing them together until they look like a slightly damp pile of sand.  Scrape down the sides of the processor (or whatever they are in) as needed.  

Drain the soaking liquid from the figs into the the food processor add the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla; processing until smooth.  Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients along with the figs that you soaked earlier.  Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients or mix with your stand mixer on low, pulsing it along just until there are no more signs of unincorporated flour.

Either pour all of it at once into your prepared pudding tin or divide it evenly between the four prepared ramekins, making sure not to over fill them.  The batter should come to just about 3/4 of the way to the top of the ramekins.  Place the baking sheet with your filled vessel/vessels onto your baking rack in the oven, then pour the boiling water into the pan so it surrounds the ramekins/pudding tin.  Cover the whole shebang with a huge sheet of tin foil and bake for 40 minutes or until they are toothpick clean.  Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

While the puddings are baking, make the sauce.

4 T. unsalted butter
1 c. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. heavy cream
1 T. brandy or rum
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Melt the butter in a medium sized pot over medium high heat, then whisk in the sugar and salt until it is smooth.  Continue to cook until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has darkened a bit...it will take about 3-4 minutes.  Add 1/3 c. of the cream and stir it until it is fully incorporated.  Slowly pour in the booze and remaining 2/3 c. of cream with a whisk constantly until smooth, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 3 minutes.  Remove it from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Using a toothpick poke 20 (or so...) holes into the top of each small cake or...if you made one LARGE pudding use a larger instrument such as a chopstick or a grilling skewer.  Then pour 1 T. of sauce over the top of each pudding and let it soak in.  If you made a large pudding, put just enough sauce over the top of the holes so it falls into the holes, but not cascading down the sides of the pudding.  Let the puddings sit until the sauce is absorbed, it takes about 5 minutes.  Turn the puddings out of each ramekin and divide the remaining sauce evenly over each of the cakes.  Or...if you made a large pudding...cut the pudding into slices and dress each slice with a generous spoon or three of sauce and serve.

One Ginormous Figgy Pudding

Slice of Figgy Pudding with Sauce

Small Figgy Pudding with Sauce

Even though proper English puddings are typically so dense, they sure did bake up high and purty with this recipe! (*Note:  The sauce in the photo with the slice of pudding IS the same as the sauce in the photo with the ramekined pudding.  The sauce in the first photo was much HOTTER than the sauce in the photo below it and the lighting was different for the smaller pudding.  Those were the only two differences!)  The flavor of these puddings are absolutely amazing.  The recipe seemed so plain to me but, it didn't disappoint.  In fact, everyone loved it.  The Sprout tried it with the sauce on and declared that he preferred the pudding au naturale.  Imagine that.  I couldn't deny, when I tried it, that it tasted fabulous both ways.  The in laws thoroughly enjoyed it, and so did my Mister and I.  

I can see myself making this again in the near future.  The sauce was spot on for this pudding; the perfect accompaniment.  I hope you won't be intimidated by the cooking style of this dessert.  It truly is one of the easiest Christmas desserts I've ever whipped up in the kitchen.  Give it a try and you won't be disappointed.

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