This month’s theme is quite different from what we have been doing so far with Gen suggesting to do something that is part of a different culture – an important occasion that another culture celebrates.
I thought it was an interesting idea albeit not an easy one!
So here we are in February and we all know that there is no escaping the month of love. It is the month when everything is lovey-dovey-mushy and everyone on Facebook is declaring their undying love for their beloved.
People tend to go all out celebrating V-Day and from my observation, while food varies depending on the culture or countries, there’s something universally consumed and/or gifted: chocolates!
In line with Gen’s theme, that’s one important occasion identified.
But I don’t want V-Day to be loud. I’ve always found it to be over-rated and you’ll likely hear me ranting about it like I did here, here and here. I much prefer the day to be quiet.
Speaking of quiet, there is one day in December that I know of where celebrations are sober. It’s known as the Bodhi Day, usually celebrated on the 8th December by the Mahayanas which marks the day of Buddha’s enlightenment of reaching Nirvana.
Traditionally, Bodhi Day is celebrated with a traditional meal of rice and milk, or cookies in the shape of the Bodhi Tree. With Bodhi Tree being a fig tree, using figs in dishes can also be symbolical of the celebration.
Enlightenment was swift as I sought a quieter celebration. Lots of figs simmered in milk does it.
Inspired by my stumble on12 Days of Celebration – Bodhi Day, I thought there would be no better way to celebrate the day of love with the quiet glow of nirvana in the form of Fig Pudding glazed with Salted Caramel all around.
450g figs, chopped (I used 4 fresh figs and 250g dried figs)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tspn nutmeg powder
1 tspn cinnamon powder
1 tspn salt
113g (or half cup) melted butter
1.5 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated orange peel (I used half tspn orange extract)
Salted Caramel Glaze
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tspn vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 195 degree celsius
Heat up milk and chopped figs in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir occasionally for about 10-15 minutes. Refrain from boiling. Set aside to cool
In a separate bowl, sift flour and mix in sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt
In another bowl, beat eggs and mix breadcrumb, orange peel (or extract), butter, breadcrumbs and fig-milk mixture. Mix well.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture in #3. Blend thoroughly and well.
Grease a deep baking pan and pour the batter into it. Level off the top
Cover with tin foil (Grease one side of the foil. Greasy side face down to the batter)
Place the deep pan in a water bath of about 2 inches of hot water
Bake for 2 hours. The pudding should pull away from the sides and texture firmed when cooked
Remove the foil. Let cool
Salted Caramel Glaze
In a heated non-stick deep pan, add in all the ingredients for the glaze at one go. Mix well under medium to high heat
Keep stirring. The liquid starts to bubble up. Let it thicken up a little but still runny before removing from the heat
Allow to cool before using it to glaze the pudding
The pudding is best eaten warm. Can be kept for a few days.
For the glaze, note that the caramel will thicken as it cools. If it hardens, you'll have to start over as this means that it is has gotten to the candy stage (which technically you still can keep - as candies!)
The texture was super moist, soft and crunchy from the combination of fresh and dried figs; the taste heavenly and extra-ordinary.The salted caramel glaze was just something of an after-thought and was completely unplanned.
But it worked very well and I think we all fell head over heels in love with this amazing soft pudding.
Truly, this is not something I would think about making if not for Gen. I hereby dedicate this creation to Gen and tipping my hat to my super-genius, wonderful buddyfor yet again pushing our culinary boundary successfully.
Bodhi Day may have been well over, but now we have a little of a sweet wisdom of love to be thankful for.