Wild rice sticky puddings with brown sugar and bourbon
About 1 hour
1/2 pound dried figs, chopped finely
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 cup light brown sugar, divided, sifted after measuring to remove any lumps
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cooked wild rice, cooled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the figs and bourbon over medium heat. Gently simmer, frequently stirring, until most of the bourbon has evaporated and the figs soften and begin to break apart, about 5 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from heat and gently stir in the baking soda. (It may froth a little — this is OK because the baking soda is breaking down the fruit fibers, softening the figs.) After the mixture has cooled for 2 minutes, stir in the melted butter and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the egg and three-fourths cup brown sugar, then stir in the reserved fig mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Fold the flour mixture into the fig and sugar base, then add the wild rice, gently stirring until everything is just combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly among 6 well-greased muffin tins (grease the top of the pan too, as the puddings may spread as they bake). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
5. While the cakes are baking, in a small saucepan combine the remaining one-fourth cup brown sugar, cream and 1 tablespoon butter and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened to a syrup-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. Remove the cakes and cool for 1 minute before turning them out onto plates (they should pop out easily). Using a toothpick, prick a half-dozen small holes in the top of each cake, and spoon a tablespoon of the syrup over each. Serve hot.