Throwback Thursday: Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding
by Keleigh May on December 18th, 2014

Mrs. Patmore's Christmas Pudding
  • 1 pound dried mixed fruit (golden raisins, regular raisins, and currants)
  • 1 ounce mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  • 1 small apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large orange, juiced and peel used for zest
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and peel used for zest
  • 1/4 cup brandy, plus extra for topping
  • 2 ounces of self-rising flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ounces of shredded suet (beef fat)
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 large eggs
*  Instead of golden raisins, I substituted dates and I could not find mixed candied peel, so I
used candied pineapple that I finely chopped

Lightly grease a 1.4-liter (1 1/2-quart) pudding pan. Place the dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange zest and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. (I didn't have a pudding pan, so I used a large glass measuring cup...keeping it classy)

Add the brandy and stir well.  Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and marinate overnight.

*I marinated my mixture for a little over 4 hours

In another large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. 

Add the suet, brown sugar, bread crumbs, almonds, and walnuts one ingredient at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  

Add the marinated dried fruits and stir well.

In a small bowl, beat together the large eggs.  Then stir into the dry ingredients.  The mixture by now should have a fairly soft consistency.

Using a wooden spoon (or in my case a spatula), spoon the pudding into the pudding pan, pressing the mixture down with the back of the spoon.

Cover with two layers of parchment paper, followed by a layer of aluminum foil.  Tie with a string.
Place the pudding in a steamer over simmering water and steam the pudding for at least 7 hours. Make sure you check the water frequently so that it doesn't boil dry.

We placed a small glass bowl facing up in the bottom of a stock pot to help support the mixing bowl as it steamed.  We filled the stock pot up til the mixing bowl was covered about 3/4 of the way up, and continued to add water about every half hour or so.  
The pudding should become a dark brown.  This is a recipe for a dark, sticky, and dense pudding.  Remove the pudding from the steamer and let it cool completely.  This may take a while.  Remove aluminum foil and parchment paper, then prick the pudding with a skewer and pour in a little extra brandy.  Cover with another set of parchment paper and tie again with string.  Store until Christmas, then reheat.  

Note: The pudding should not be served immediately after baking it.  It needs to be stored to rest for at least 48 hours.  Eating the pudding immediately will not only cause it to collapse but will stop the flavors from officially ripening.
​Now bring us some Figgy Pudding, but what exactlly are we demanding? My personal favorite reference to this treat can be found in the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas song.  The pudding that Americans have come to grow and love is more closely related to a custard (think jello pudding cups).  However, historical figgy pudding, which is the same as plum pudding, can be found as far back as the 17th century.  Early puddings were actually in fact used as a way of preserving meat.   It was not until the late 1830's that flour, fruits, suet (beef fat), sugar and spices were added and becoming more associated with Christmas.   Being a British dessert I thought where else to start than with Downton Abbey Unoffical Cookbook? Ok now to make this thing, seriously....Fruit must soak overnight? 7 hours to boil? Must sit for 48 hours? Then reboiled for 2 hours? I mean if you start in March you might have this ready by Christmas. And then we have the ingredients....oh the ingredients. Dried fruit and nuts, bread crumbs, brandy and beef fat, who could forget the beef fat. But hey I got a good deal on my beef fat (only .24 cents from Whole Foods, making it the cheapest thing I've ever gotten there). 
​Image taken from "The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook" 
Written by Emily Ansara Baines
Published by Adams Media

The Finishing (Fire)  Touch

Here is Your Figgy Pudding!

So after three days and 9 total hours in a steam bath, its finished!  I'm not gonna lie, it did not look that appetizing when I put it on the plate, but after letting everyone have a taste, it was actually pretty good.  It is like nothing we had ever tried before.  Its hard to believe that all these ingredients could join together to make a dessert that we all enjoyed!​  So do you want some figgy pudding?  Won't leave until you get some?  Where There's a Meal, There's a Way!

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