Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Figgy" Pudding

Now that it's December, I've started signing Christmas carols in the car with my kids.  Which inevitably got me to:

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding /
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding /

What on earth is figgy pudding?!

With my new-found interest in cooking from scratch, I had to find out.

The answer, says the wisdom of the interwebs, is basically a bread pudding with figs.  Which I figured I could handle.  Off I went in search of what I knew would not be local figs.

But it turned out that my nearest grocery store did not have even exotic, imported figs.  They had no figs at all, either fresh or dried.  So, I grabbed a bag of dried California dates (dates are kind of like figs, right?) and went on my way.

The recipe I loosely followed is from Whole Foods.

Cooking spray
Cup of egg whites
2 cups (1-percent) milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried dates (or figs!), chopped
3/4 loaf whole grain Ezekiel bread, ripped into pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease a (7- x 11-inch) baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and then stir in fruit.

Add bread and toss to coat, pressing bread down gently to help it soak up the milk mixture.

Transfer contents of bowl to prepared dish, cover with foil and bake until just set and fragrant, about 45 minutes.

Uncover and bake until crisp on top, about 15 minutes more.

Sweet and wonderful!  Though my husband and I decided it might be best served with an extra drizzle of milk and vanilla extract (or a shot of rum...) on top just before serving.  That the pudding was a little dry was probably a result of the crunchy, flourless Ezekiel bread soaking up less of the cooking liquid than a normal bread would.

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