I’ve always wanted to make Figgy Pudding. The term “blazing pudding” caught my attention as a kid when I first heard Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales (as read by the author on Caedmon Records’ first release of 1952, b-side). It wasn’t until quite a bit later in life that I realized the famous “now bring us some figgy pudding” line from the carol We Wish You a Merry Christmas refers to a dried-fruit concoction that was usually doused in liquor and set aflame before being brought to the table; thus, I made the connection between the figgy and the blazing.
Well, I am happy to bring you a successful Figgy Pudding recipe and tips on how to steam the pudding in your Mehu-Liisa Steam Juicer. Yes, I know I am too late for the holidays, but in my research I came upon references to puddings that were made up to one year before Yuletide (no doubt an extra dram of the good stuff aided the pudding’s preservation), so go ahead and get steaming!
That is my holiday kitchen table on the left with lingering squash and, yes, the last of my tomatoes! Those are seed catalogs there on the right end. Ah, the cycle returns.
All the ingredients for Figgy Pudding are assembled on the right. Here is the link to the recipe I used:
Dorie Greenspan’s Figgy Pudding recipe from, Baking: From My Home to Yours
I’m not going to go into depth on the assembling of the recipe but will say that it was very easy and took no time at all. I offer these few photos and comments before I discuss steaming with the Mehu-Liisa:
On the left, the figs are boiling in a bit of water to soften. In the middle, I light the liquid after boiling the figs in bourbon and brandy. The right shows the flame. The length of time one flames the mixture controls the booziness of the final product.
The ingredients came together in a rather stiff, dry batter (left and middle) that I packed into a bundt pan (very well greased). I banged it down on the counter and made sure there were no air pockets. Then covered it in foil.
I added some metal bands from my dome canning lids to the steamer basket for support and to allow the steam to surround the pan. I placed the foil-sealed pan in the colander of the juicer and then poked a few holes in the top of the pan funnel to keep condensation from dripping back into the batter (steam could rise up in the funnel of the pan and have nowhere to escape). I set my timer at 1/2 hour intervals to be sure that the water pan didn’t boil dry. Really, there was no danger of that because I used a steady (NOT furious) boil and the pan could have easily gone 1 full hour without being filled (this is on an electric hob). But, it’s best to be safe so CHECK YOUR WATER LEVEL!
There’s the chef, in festive garb, waiting patiently by the Mehu-Liisa and the wonderful finished Figgy Pudding on the right. Although the recipe calls for 2 hours steam time, it only took about 1.5 hours in the Mehu-Liisa because steam is quite a bit hotter than simmering water. The result was wonderfully dense, moist, cakey, and fruity-boozy—excellent with a cup of dark coffee. We were very satisfied!
It was fun to research figgy pudding and christmas pudding online. There is an enormous amount of information on the web regarding these fabled desserts and it all boils down (steams up?) to one irrefutable fact: there are no definitive recipes for either. This isn’t an uncommon state of affairs for much loved or traditional dishes, but the history of these two cakes (puddings in the UK) is so exceptional, and the fun of digging down into the crumby depths of it is so satisfying, that I highly recommend everyone to have a go at getting to know the figgy and the blazing. To nudge you on your way, here is a link to the Wikipedia post on Figgy Pudding (the fun starts when you check the resources and external links at the bottom):
Happy New Year to all! Check back for more recipes and tips for using your Mehu-Liisa Steam Juicer from Finland.