Fig, Currant & Cognac Pudding

Fig, Currant & Cognac Pudding , a long title for an easy recipe. It is simply a pudding of baked crepe batter filled with Cognac soaked figs and currants. Yes, bring me some figgy pudding, and bring it right here!
Adapted from The French Menu Cookbook, Richard Olney, 1970
Serves 6-8

1/2 pound dried Black Mission figs
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup cognac
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter

Place the currants/raisins in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, leave them to swell for 10 minutes, drain. Cut off stems from the figs and slice in half lengthwise. Combine the currants and figs in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, pour in the cognac and seal. Shake the jar from time to time, turning to distribute the cognac. In about 6-7 hours the liquid will be completely absorbed. Perhaps a few more hours or a few less will suffice, but get as close as you can to 6-7 hours for the best results.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and salt with a handheld mixer (no need for the big Kitchenaid mixer). Sift in the flour, a little at a time, and continue to mix, now using a hand whisk, until smooth. Stir in the milk, vanilla extract and the fruit contents of the jar (a heavenly scent will waif over as you open the jar–fruit macerated in Cognac!)

Generously butter a 9 inch oval gratin or deep-dish pie pan and ladle in the fig-currant batter, then pour the rest of the batter over. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the custard is golden and set (jiggle the pan to test). Serve lukewarm directly from the pan, either slicing or spooning out. This is a rustic, casual dish and is best, I must say best eaten the day it is made. Serve with freshly whipped cream and perhaps a sprinkle of a warming spice mix.

COOK'S NOTES: For cooking, I use a young cognac, such as Hennessy Cognac VS. This recipe is traditionally known as Périgord Pudding (flaugnarde) that is a specialty of the Périgord region of France, however my substitution of figs for the traditional prunes, excludes it from being called such. Richard Olney of this dessert states it best, "Its simple honesty rarely fails to seduce."