You sing songs as a kid and often have NO idea what the words mean. Famously for me, I thought the Steve Miller Band's "Big Old Jet Airliner" was "Bingo Jed Had a Light On" for YEARS. What exactly did "Bingo Jed Had a Light On" mean, in my estimation? I had no idea. But then, what the hell is a pompatus of love?
The problem isn't always in misunderstanding the lyric. Sometimes you just have no clue as to what the words mentioned in songs are. Vocabulary changes over time. Christmas songs are especially bad. "Here we go a'wassailing..." Huh? Wassailing? Frankincense? Myrrh? Virgin? Figgy Pudding?
But that's what we're here for today - figgy pudding. What you are looking at is the tail end of a genuine figgy pudding. I've always thought of puddings as the creamy panna cotta type stuff you get in snack packs with ring topped lids (yes, I AM a child of the Seventies, why do you ask?), but the English - most of the Brits, actually - mean something entirely different, and much more like a cake.
I stole this recipe from Whitington.com. I've changed the directions a little to reflect my experiences, but the process and the ingredient list comes from that site.
The figgy pudding itself is great if a little strange to modern tastebuds. If you like Fig Newtons, you love this. If you like Christmas flavors and smells, you'll like this. Heck, if you like wassailing, you'll like this recipe.
16 oz. dried Calimyrna figs (the light brown ones, not the black ones)
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cup AP flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 2 1/12 quart bundt pan with spray or butter.
Cut stems from figs and discard. Cut figs into 1/4" dice
In a a medium saucepan, heat milk and figs over medium-low heat but do NOT bring to a boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. The figs will perfume the milk and the milk will soften the figs.
The mixture may look curdled, but don't worry.
In a medium bowl (not your mixer's bowl, we'll use that next), mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
In your mixers bowl, beat eggs one minute on high. Reduce speed to low and add butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture.
Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Beat until just blended.
Pour/spoon the mix into the greased bundt pan. If using an intricate mold/pan, push mix deep into all crevices so it will take the shape when baked. Level top as much as possible. Giving the pan a half twist back and forth will sometimes help the mix find a nice level surface.
Cover the mold with a piece of aluminum foil greased on one side, greased side down.
Place the mold in a roasting pan and place on oven rack. fIll with hot tap water 2 inches up the side of the mold.
Bake for 2 hours or until the pudding is firm and it is pulling away from the side of the bundt pan.
Now, make the sauce. With a mixer, mix all the sauce ingredients together until creamy.
Remove the pudding from the water bath. Remove the foil and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. Invert bundt pan onto a serving plate/cake stand and remove mold. It should come away easily.
Serve warm with sauce. The sauce is more like frosting at room temperature, but if you heat it a bit, it will melt. I liked it more frosting-like.
If your friends make this treat when you visit - don't go until you get some. Don't go until you get some. Don't go until you get some, then bring it right here.