Figgy tart and rum butter

I don’t remember having any dried fruit at home, rehydrated and eaten as pudding, except maybe prunes, but we did have a lot of dried fruit used in cakes and baking. Mixed dried fruit such as figs, dates, apricots, apples and pears, soaked and then cooked didn’t arrive in my pudding bowl until I had school dinners when I was eleven. I really liked them, the pears and apples I wasn’t so fond of, but figs, prunes and apricots I did like very much. My hum had a book where she stuck in recipes she cut out from newspapers, which she must have started not long before she died; I carried it on, and now I’m not sure where her last recipes were and where mine started. So, the following might have been from her – although I never remember cooking it, or it might have been, and i don’t think I ever cooked it either! Sounds pretty good, although I think I would make a syrup in a different way! It doesn’t specify what the fiigs should be soaked in, I might use left over tea, or maybe fruit juice of some sort.

Figgy tart

  • ¾lb dried figs soaked for 12 hours, simmered in soaking water for 20 mins, drained and liquor reserved)
  • 1 dsp treacle
  • 1 tsp mixed spice (I would add more)
  • 2 oz currants
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 8 oz shortcrust pastry, rolled out and put in a 9-10 inch tart tin
  1. Make a syrup from the cooking liquor blended with cornflour and made up to half a pint, over a low heat
  2. let it rest for a little then add the currants, treacle and spice and take it off the heat
  3. arrange the figs in the pasty case, then cover with the syrup
  4. bake at 400º F, 200º C, gas mark 6 for 30-35 mins
  5. serve with whatever appeals to you!

On the same page is a yellowing recipe so may be older and stuck in when Mum got the book; I think this would go nicely with the fig tart! According to the notes, is one of Cumberland’s oldest recipes, the ingredients coming through ports along the county coastline. It was served not at Christmas, like I do, but at christenings, in a ‘good big China bowl for everyone to serve themselves and spread on brown bread. It is very good with bread or scones for tea’ and then as an afterthought is added that it’s nice with mince-pies or Christmas pudding.

Cumberland rum butter

  • 8 oz butter
  • 1 lb light muscovado sugar
  • 1 oz freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp dark rum (that seems to me to be a measly amount; I know the butter splits with too much rum, but I’m sure it could hold a little more!)
  1. soften the butter gently in a pan
  2. add the sugar and nutmeg, stirring continually until the sugar dissolves (keep the heat really low)
  3. take it off the heat and allow to cool a little then add the rum, mixing thoroughly
  4. put into little pots or a bow; and leave to set
  5. dredge with icing sugar when cold

This is the quantity of rum to other ingredients which I’ve found elsewhere:

  • 6 each of ounces of butter, soft brown sugar, tablespoons of rum
  • 7 oz butter, 3½ oz icing sugar, 4 tbsp dark rum
  • 8 oz butter, 6 oz dark brown sugar, 8-10 tbsp dark rum

…and if you look here you can find out the history and other stories about rum butter in a really interesting page from Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread – Grasmere is a village in Cumberland:

For the moment I can’t images of figs, Cumberland or rum… so here’s a font where maybe after the Christening the family will enjoy rum butter on some newly baked scones!



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