Do you remember the figgy pudding line in the song “We wish you a Merry Christmas”?
Do you know what figgy pudding is?
More a cake than a pudding, figgy pudding has a long history. In the mid-1600’s, the Puritans actually banned it because they believed the spices and alcohol in it inflamed passions. Political leader Oliver Cromwell called it a “lewd custom” and declared it unfit for God-fearing people.
But the British people hung on to the tradition, and slowly it made its way to the New World, where it had its own rituals and superstitions. New World people believed that everyone in the house should help make it, and each person should make a wish as he took his turn stirring. Some families in the New World hid a small toy in the batter believing the person who finds it would have good luck.
So how can you make this dessert for yourself?
First, gather these ingredients: 1 cup of dried figs, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1 cup beef fat (suet), 1 cup sultanas, 1 cup raisins, 1 cup currants, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flaked almonds, ½ cup plain flour, ½ cup orange and lemon peel mixed, 2 tsp. mixed spices (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg), ¼ pint rum or brandy, 4 beaten large eggs, a pinch of salt, and milk if desired.
Second, two weeks before Christmas, do these things
- Put the figs into a saucepan, add water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking until the figs are soft and you can easily mash them.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. It is seems too dry, add some milk.
- Pack the mix into a greased bundt pan and cover with wax paper. The pudding will expand while cooking, so if the pan is filled to the top, make a pleat in the paper to allow for expansion. Tie it down tightly with a string, and make a loop from one side to the other to act as a handle.
- Place the pan on a trivet in a covered stockpot with enough water to come halfway up the side. Bring this to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for two hours. Add more water as necessary. Once it has cooled, wrap it up with plastic wrap, and then store it in the fridge.
On Christmas Day, do these three things.
- Cook it as you cooked it in step five two weeks ago for another two hours.
- Bring it to the table covered in flaming brandy.
- Serve with cream or brandy butter.
Of course, you can omit the alcohol if you want.
You can bring life to history and tradition for your friends and family by making figgy pudding.