Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fig Pudding with Rum Butter (Page 831)

RECIPE #1063

  • Date: Saturday, December 5, 2009 -- 8pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our New House!
  • Fellow Chef: Mike
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: C-

When Mike and I were trying to come up with a menu for our All Gross Food Dinner a few weeks ago, the first thing I said was, "I know what we should have for dessert!" There was really only one choice: Fig Pudding with Rum Butter. The timing was perfect. For one thing, this is the Figgy Pudding you hear about in Christmas carols, e.g.:

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

So, this recipe was quite seasonal. Further, I hadn't been able to make this any previous Christmas season because I didn't have the proper "2-quart decorative pudding mold with lid." However, I got one as part of a wedding gift from Vero and Phillipe (thank you!) so, I was finally prepared to make this recipe. From the "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" lyrics above, you might gather that figgy pudding is delicious. So then you could wonder why I would suggest this recipe as the dessert for our meal of bad food. I'll tell you why! You read the ingredient list for this recipe, and the eighth item on the list is "3 cups cold shredded beef suet." For those of you not culinarily inclined: suet means fat. This recipe called for 3 cups of beef fat. Ick. Ick, ick, ick. Nonetheless, I plowed ahead.

I started by putting chopped figs in whole milk and simmering for 20 minutes. I then let the mixture cool for an hour. I then buttered the mold. I sifted flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl I attempted to beat the suet with sugar until fluffy. I say attempted because fluffiness was not to be found. I tried an electric mixer. I even tried a food processor. I couldn't achieve fluffiness with my beef suet. Instead, the shredded suet flew all over (I later found suet in my hair) as I beat it, and stubbornly refused to fluff. Eventually I gave up and added eggs, one at a time, beating after each. I then mixed in some breadcrumbs which I had freshly ground, and some orange zest. I then added the flour mixture alternately with the fig mixture. I spooned the batter into the mold (the recipe says to "pour" but my mixture was way too stiff to be poured), and I put the top on. Then I put the mold in a pot and poured boiling water halfway up the sides. I covered the pot and simmered the water to steam the pudding for 2 hours. Then I unmolded the pudding and made the rum butter. I beat together butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, and dark rum. I served the pudding sliced with rum butter.

This recipe was pretty special. Mike summed it up best when he said, "I think I would be able to enjoy this more if I didn't know what was in it." It's true, the thought of all that beef fat was daunting. My special gentleman said, "I can feel the beef fat flowing through my veins." He found the "sweet beefiness" of the dish a bit offputting. True, the knowledge of all the beef fat was certainly disconcerting, but even without that knowledge I think the dish wouldn't have been very good. For one thing, it was quite dry for a pudding. The texture was not at all what I would have hoped for. Further, although the rum butter sounded tasty, it really wasn't. The sugar was grainy in it, and there was too much dark rum for the amount of butter. My main issue though was the flavor and mouthfeel of the beef suet in the dish. We all felt so greasy after eating it. I don't know what figgy pudding those kids were singing about in that Christmas song, but it was certainly not this recipe.

Sadly for you, this recipe isn't online.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure that recipe was correct? Three cups is an awful lot of suet - and I say this as an offal-eating Brit! And just so you know, this is NOT the traditional "figgy pudding".

Teena said...

I am sure I made it as directed -- i am not sure the instructions were correct!