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Rude Holiday Guests, or make your own Figgy Pudding!

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Mogorilla:
Now bring us some Figgy Pudding! And Bring Some Right here!  We Won’t Go until we get some!

Seriously were Victorian age Brits really rude?  I mean I cannot imagine the naughty list I would end up on for the Tarantinoesque blood bath that would occur if someone who I probably did not want visiting anyway pulled that.  Okay, probably should table that round of thinking.

Have you ever wondered what a figgy pudding is?   Well, odd cook and history buff that I am, I have made one.   So first, it has nothing to do with American style pudding.  Pudding in England is basically a name for any dessert and this style of pudding dates back to the 16th century.   Supposedly they will last up to a year in a cool dark place, fruit cake sort of evolved out of this.   So, to further throw out my weirdness, I like a traditional fruit cake (I do not like modern fruitcakes both edible and those that wander around, but not any of those here he types with his fingers crossed).   So here we go.

FYI, Suet is refined beef fat.  It is not easy to come by at times.  A butcher may have it.  Amazon also carries it, ATORA is the brand, comes pre-shredded.

Ingredients
Dry ingredients
2 ½ cups soft brown or white breadcrumbs
½ cup dried apricots, chopped (to about the same size as the raisins)
   ¾ cup dried figs, chopped (to about the same size as the raisins)
1 cup currants (I prefer true Currants in this, but zante currants work)
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup sultanas
¼ cup high quality candied peel, finely chopped
¼ cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
8oz shredded suet (frozen shortening can work here as well, but not as tasty), butter or lard will substitute.
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
   Wet ingredients
      1 orange, zest and juice
      1 lemon, zest and juice
      1 eating apple, cored and grated (I like granny smith)
      3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
      ¾ cup stout or similar dark beer
      ½ cup milk
      4 tbsp brandy (I use bourbon)
     
      butter, for greasing pudding bowls (what, you do not have pudding bowls?   keep reading options available.


Procedure
1.   Place all the chopped dry fruit in a bowl and add the orange and lemon zest/juice, beer and brandy.   Cover with cling film and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.
2.   Remove fruit from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
3.   Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix together thoroughly. (fingers or whisk)
4.   In a separate bowl, mix eggs and milk.  Add the eggs/milk and macerated fruit to the dry ingredients and mix together well with your hands (a spoon doesn't do the job half as well).
5.   Divide the mixture between two greased 1½ litre/2½ pint heatproof pudding bowls, filling almost to the rim, then smooth down the surface.  Don’t have a pudding bowl?  Any oven safe round bowl will work.   Small mixing bowls.   (other alternative is linen cheese cloth, more on that later.)
6.   Cover each bowl with a large square of parchment paper, then cover that with a large square of aluminium foil. Tie the two sheets tightly into place under the rim with string, leaving long ends of excess string to make a handle. Loop one of the excess string lengths over the pudding basin and slide underneath the taut string holding the sheets in place on the other side. Bring up the string and firmly knot with the other piece of excess string, to form a secure handle to lift the pudding in and out of the water.
7.   Place puddings in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.   
8.   To cook, stand both puddings on a trivet in a large, deep, heavy-based pan (or each pudding in a separate pan). Pour boiling water into the pan(s), enough to come about halfway up the sides of the bowls.  Keep an additional pot going with boiling water, you will need to replenish the main water often, and you do not want the temperature to drop.
9.   Cover the pan(s) with a lid and boil for seven hours (yup, 7). Check the water level regularly, topping it up with more boiling water as necessary to keep the bowls half submerged.  (if dividing into small bowls, adjust accordingly, 4 small bowls would be ~2 hours)
10.   After seven hours, remove the bowls from the pan and leave to cool. Untie and remove the foil and greaseproof sheets and replace with clean, dry sheets of both parchment paper and foil.
11.   Store in a cool, dry place (or freeze if you prefer, though they will keep perfectly well for a year or more unfrozen). To reheat at the holidays, return to a pan containing a few inches of boiling water, cover and steam for two hours, checking the water levels now and then, until completely heated through.
12.   Alternative-The boiled pudding.   Get several large pieces of clean linen, not cheesecloth.   Pre wash these and dry, you want them to shrink a bit.   Day of cooking, place the linen in the boiling water, then pull out and flour the cloth.   Place about half the pudding into one set of the cloth and tie it into a ball.  Tie the string to have a loop in it.   This is a bit of practice as ideally you want the string to be of length that when you put the loop over a wooden spoon, the pudding will be submerged in the boiling water, but not resting on the bottom of the pan.  Repeat for the remaining pudding batter and boil for ~4 hours.  Cool hanging and then remove the covering carefully.  Wrap in parchment paper and foil and refrigerate until the holidays. To reheat, repeat the cooking process, boiling for ~30 minutes.
Well, these are pretty tasty as is, but a sauce makes everything better.

For the sauce
Ingredients
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum (or bourbon, I use bourbon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, more for garnish

Mix heavy cream with cornstarch and sugar.  Blend to remove all lumps, transfer to a pan and bring to a boil.   Remove from heat and add rum and vanilla extract.  Serve over the warm pudding while sauce is still steaming hot.

Professor Marvel:
Oh My Gawd Mogorilla ...

that is awesome!

and.... lengthy.

and a lot of work!

As a collector of Victoriana, Ancient Carols,  & etc I am impressed!

If carollers came demanding figgy pudding "and won't leave until we get some" ...
I might have to call on Robot Santa...

This will take some time... I will have to work my way up to this one.
yhs
prof amrvel

PS do you have a recipe for Wassail? I have about 3 dozen different wassailing songs, as well as the history behind wassailing...

Mogorilla:
Like  Tamales, a pudding is a labour of love.    As to Wassail, try this link.  I made this last year.   As most cider in that era was hard, that was what i used.   Tasty. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/activity/wassail-punch.shtml?page=87

Happy Christmas!

Niederlander:
Awesome!  Figgy pudding actually sounds kind of good!

Mogorilla:
The pudding is tasty, dense and speaks to my Anglophile soul.   Back when there was a dean and deluca in Kansas City, you could get these during the holidays premade.   Alas no more   We are working with our new delightful puppy, so I did not make it this year.   

Oh and Prof, loved the Simpson reference.   As a guy who at one point had thirty Hawaiian shirts, that episode is one of my favorites

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