This is not your regular pudding. This is both a sweet/savory crusty pudding much like a cobbler made with chicken fat instead of butter. This sounds really weird…I mean who makes a pudding of chicken fat?! Well if you wanted as many calories as possible and butter wasn’t always available, you used the fat drippings from a hanging chicken (or duck) and made a really tasty sweet and savory full fat dessert!
Apricot or Banana Savory Pudding
Take some sweet and mature apricots; detach (the fruit) from the pit. (Mix it with sugar.) In a clean baking pan…spread out (a flat bread) and place the mixture of apricots and sugar on top. Cover this with another cooked flat bread. If you wish to add a bit of saffron , do so and sprinkle with rose water; then hang an excellent hen over (the dish), may it please God.
(Zaouali, pp. 82)
Take bananas that are fully ripe. Peel them and immerse them in fine samid sour dough, kneaded as for pancakes. Then take them up and leave on some thing woven. Boil sesame oil, fry the bananas, take them out and throw them in syrup. Them them up and throw them in pounded sugar, then arrange them in a tray with fin flat breads above and below. Hang fat chicken above.
(Rodison, pp. 411)
2 cups fresh or dried apricots or 4 sliced bananas 1/3 cup sugar 1 pinch saffron
¼ teaspoon rose water flat bread
1 chicken or 1 cup chicken fat
When I did this recipe I used dried apricots as fresh was not available. Per several other recipes dried or preserved are acceptable substitutes (see recipe: Khaukyiyya [meat with plums]). I chopped up the apricots roughly so that there were still chunks and placed in a bowl. Once the apricots were chopped I then sprinkled on 1/3 cup of sugar and enough water to just cover the dried apricots. If I had been using fresh I would not have added water as fresh apricots would have generated enough moisture from being sugared.
When I decided to retry this recipe, I had the ingredients on hand for either bananas or apricots. I decided to try a half and half. I did not dip the bananas in flour then fry them as the 2nd recipe suggests. This would have made the bananas even more flavorful however I was running a little short on time, so I mixed the sugar and saffron together then poured 1/2 of the sugar onto the apricots and then the other 1/2 onto the bananas then set the two bowls of fruit to the side.
I made a quick flat bread dough using a bread recipe and divided the resulting dough into two balls.
The first ball I rolled out and placed on the bottom of a oiled tanjin.
Now the original recipe implies cooked flat bread. I did this the first time and ended up with a burnt offering instead of a tasty dessert. I have tried with and with out oiling the tajine and cooked or uncooked flat bread. I go with oiling the tajine and uncooked flat bread. There is much less burning of bread this way.
I then rolled out the other ball of dough, roughly shaped into a circle into the oven at 350 for 10 minutes (or until slightly golden brown on top).
While the second flat bread was cooking I divided the apricots and bananas onto the raw flat bread dough in the tajine.
These were then sprinkled with a little rose water.
The next step was to place the cooked flat bread on top of the fruit.
Here is where thinks get a little different. I did not have a hook from which to cook a chicken on while placing the fruit and flat bread underneath to catch the drippings. What I did do is place a chicken on top of the cooked flat bread so that all the fat would be caught, covered with the top of the tajine and cooked till done.
This is where a cup of chicken fat can be used instead of the whole chicken. If a cup of chicken fat is readily available, smear the fat on top of the cooked flat bread and bake the dish until the bottom layer is cooked (with out scorching) and the fat has been absorbed, roughly 30 minutes. For just chicken fat a tajine is not necessary, any regular baking dish will do. If using a whole chicken, cook the dish in a tajine until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 45 minutes to an hour. The chicken comes out extremely tender and moist while the pudding has absorbed the chicken fat for a rich one of a kind dessert.
The apricot side tastes a bit like peach cobbler with chicken while the banana side was strongly banana flavored with chicken. Sweet savory and very unforgettable!