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|Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 1:07 pm
Post subject: Re: Figgy Pudding
YES, you DO!!
Ever eaten a carrot cake? The carrots bring (and HOLD) some moisture, a LOT of flavor and a SIGNIFICANT amount of SWEETNESS to the thing. The shreds also give the whole thing some extra body and texture.
The potatoes are a source of moisture and gluten-free starch. Pudding + gluten + lots of stirring = dense, wet, soggy, hockey-puckular bread.
Leaving them out is to guarantee a solid failure. The calculations you'd need to do to replace all the things they bring to the thing are INSURMOUNTABLE.
... and when they say, "mix well," they mean WELL! In some recipes, you mix them, stirring, stirring, stirring, for AN HOUR! Others, all DAY!! These recipes usually have suet (a firm [about like lard] beef fat) or tallow (a hard [like candle-hard!], yellow beef fat) in them. Solid cholesterol, right, but it's worth the hit, and the servings are TINY.
I noticed that this one does NOT contain tallow. That's probably a good thing.
It's a good-luck thing for each member of the family to take 3 or 10 stirs, each, too. The really li'l guys hold on to the spoon as Mamma or Pappa do the actual stirring.
This might come from the fact that being ABLE to take 10 stirs is a sign that you're in pretty good health! It's a VERY heavy batter!!
In some places, they hide some little metal toys (NON-LEAD metal toys, please) and a schilling (A coin: Think "quarter") in the batter after putting it the mold as an added treat. My personal feeling is that, given how much work goes into the thing and how great the results are, having things in it that threaten to destroy your teeth urges a modicum of restraint.
Threatened with SEVER pain, debilitating injury and EXPENSIVE repairs, people will eat it SSSLLLOOOWWWLLLYYY!
While you're steaming it, you'll have a lid on the pan, right, and unless you're pretty lucky and have a glass-lidded pan, you'll NEVER KNOW when you run low on water, right?!?!? Here's a trick: Get 3 or so glass marbles from a local child ("hey kid: Gimme 3 marbles." Yeah right. You're an ADULT! Just STEAL 'em!! You're going to put them back, afterwards.) and put them in the bottom of the pan with the water.
When the water runs low, they'll rumble and clatter in the pan, and you'll know to add more water. Keep extra water, simmering already, in a teapot so it's ready to add without slowing down the cooking.
Bamma, my grandmother, cooked stuff for her (extended) neighborhood to support her family. I still have the old Universal Food Chopper #2 that my grandfather used to chop the nuts and fruits. (He was VERY sick for a VERY long time - turning the crank was almost more than he could do, but his rule was that everyone helped because everyone benefited.) Mamma and Aunt Janet shelled and skinned nuts, weighed and carried candied fruit, flower and nuts from hundred pound bags to usable-sized bowls. Grandfather loaded the chopper and chopped. Bamma blanched and roast the nuts, then mixed and mixed and mixed.
She made steamed puddings at Christmas and New Years. This was back in the day, you know, when you could buy a big steak dinner at a nice restaurant for less than fifty cents. She sold a SMALL one for ten bucks. A large went for TWENTY-FIVE BUCKS!!
What's 20 and 50 times a steak dinner at the steakhouse near you!?
She made one for us, one Christmas. It took her ALL DAY, and John (big brother) and I helped. He stirred the batter and I snitched bits of candied fruit and figs so he wouldn't have to work so hard.
It was REALLY great.
I remember her having to cook the hard sauce, though. You might want to check other recipes on that ....
Last Edited: 08/27/2010