Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Fire Roasted Figgy Bread Pudding
As the Christmas carols began playing on the radio this year, it caused me to wonder what exactly figgy pudding is. I did a bit of research on it and found it to be a 16th century English recipe for stewed figs; thickened with stale bread crumbs. At first this sounded rather unappetizing to me but then my husband pointed out that it wasn't a far cry from bread pudding.
Having a more-than-ample amount of dehydrated figs from my grandfather's fig tree tucked into my freezer, I thought maybe I'd better rethink this whole figgy pudding thing. What transpired was the alteration of what is already an amazing bread pudding recipe that we traditionally serve Chistmas day. I assemble it and my husband cooks it over the embers that are left behind after he fire roasts our pork loin that has butterflied and stuffed with proscuitto and fontina.
So, here you have it. Sort of a Charles Dickens meets the Country Tart if you will.
15-20 dried figs (approximately 2-2 1/2 cups, chopped)
2/3 cup Southern Comfort
1 1/2 loaves stale crusty artisan bread, torn into pieces
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3 cups milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
SOUTHERN FIGGY SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 c tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
Approximately 1/4 c. of reserved liquor (more to taste)
1 - The night before, tear or cube cooking bread and leave out on baking sheet to allow to become stale.
2 - Place walnuts and chopped figs in a shallow dish and pour Southern Compfort over the top. Soak for two hours. Drain but save the soaking liquid for the sauce.
3 - Place bread pieces in a 9 by 12-inch baking dish. Add figs to dish. In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, heavy cream, sugar, brown sugar, molasses, lemon zest, and salt, and mix well to ensure the sugar has been dissolved. Add the reserved fig soaking liquid to the milk mixture and pour over bread. Let sit until bread has soaked up all of the milk mixture (about an hour).
4 - Turn on grill and, keeping grill cover down, heat to medium heat. If using charcoal or wood, prepare fire and allow to cook down to almost embers (or a low flame).
5 - For best results, place baking dish in another large pan and add water about halfway up the sides of the baking dish and place atop grill. This will set and remain creamy without the water, if cooked over indirect heat.
6 - Cook, with lid shut, for 30-45 minutes, checking often. Continue cooking for one hour or until pudding has set. Remove bread pudding from oven and let cool slightly.
7 - To serve, serve with sauce: combine sugar, heavy cream, egg and yolks in a saucepan and cook, stirring well, until thick. Keep warm until ready to serve. Whisk in Southern Comfort just before serving. Serve drizzled over pudding.