Add a little spice to your Christmas spread with
these recipes

by Corbin Crable


Figgy pudding



A sweet figgy pudding for your holiday sweet tooth. (photo courtesy of The Food Network)

 

This dish is referenced in “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” In 18th- and 19th-century English tradition, it was common for wealthy people in a community to give treats to roaming carolers on Christmas Eve.

The term ‘figgy pudding’ is generic and could mean any one of several seasonal winter dishes; they are cakes both savory and sweet, usually with a layer of honey, fruit and nuts, in addition to sweetmeats flavored with herbs. In other forms, rum is added to enhance the taste of the fruit.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chopped dried pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
2 cups water
1 tsp. baking soda
7 tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 1/2 oz. dark chocolate, grated
Butter for coating ramekins
Ice cream or whipped cream, for garnish

Sauce:
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
14 tbsp. butter
Fresh figs, quartered, for garnish
Vanilla ice cream, optional
Whipped heavy cream, optional

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Add dates, dried figs and water to medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda. Let cool for about 5 minutes then puree in blender.
Using hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar in large bowl. Add eegs and beat well. Fold in flour, pureed date mixture and chocolate.

Pour into 4 buttered 1-cup individual ramekins, filling halfway or slightly under. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by stirring sugar and cream in medium saucepan over low heat. Simmer until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter and sir until blended.

Remove ramekins from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. May be served in the ramekin or unmolded onto a small serving plate. With a paring knife, cut a cross in top of the puddings for the sauce.

Pour sauce into the cross in the center of each pudding, then pour more sauce over the puddings and allow to soak in slightly. Top with fresh figs and vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Serve warm.

Source: The Food Network


Wassail

 

Wash down that figgy pudding with a glass of spiced wassail. (photo courtesy of All Recipes)

This beverage has both English and Norse origins, stretching back as far as Medieval times. A hot mulled punch, it was consumed as part of a wintertime ritual to ensure a good apple harvest the following season. In later years, the cider was sweetened with sugar, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. The beverage was nearly always consumed in a communal bowl. More recently, wassail recipes have used as a base wine or fruit juice with alcohol like brandy added for an extra kick.

Ingredients
2 gallons apple cider
2 c. fresh orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

Directions
Mix apple cider, orange juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and sugar together in a large pot over medium-low heat.

Place cloves and cinnamon in a tea ball; add ball to the apple cider mixture. Simmer mixture until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Serve from pot with large ladle.

Source: All Recipes

 

Roasted Chestnuts

These roasted chestnuts make the perfect pre-Christmas dinner snack. (photo courtesy of The Spruce Eats)

You don’t need an open fire to enjoy this holiday snack – all you need is your own oven. Roasted chestnuts have a slightly sweet flavor and the softness of a sweet potato when finished. Pair them with your favorite wine, or toss them with roasted brussels sprouts.

Ingredients
1/2 pound chestnuts (unpeeled, unroasted)

Directions
Gather the ingredients and pre-heat your stove to 425 degrees.

Using a sharp paring knife, make an x-shaped cut on the round side of each chestnut. This keeps them from exploding from internal pressure when heated, and it makes peeling easier after roasting.

Arrange chestnuts on a baking rack or baking sheet.
Transfer the chestnuts to the oven and roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened. The actual time required will depend on the chestnuts but will be between 15 and 20 minutes.

Remove the nuts from the oven and pile them into a mound on an old towel. Wrap them up, squeeze hard (the chestnuts should crackle), and let them sit for a few minutes.

Pull and snap off the dark shells to reveal the yellowish white chestnuts. While peeling, make sure also to remove the papery skin between the shell and the chestnut.

Source: The Spruce Eats


Leigh Elmore can be contacted at editor@discoverypub.com