Many of us wonder what in the world is Figgy Pudding spoken of in the Christmas favorite song, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” Dorie Greenspan, author of “Baking: From My Home to Yours,” said it was sort of like fruitcake. About.com Home Cooking says it’s more like a “spice cake-like souffle made with figs and walnuts.”
Because my mother was of English descent, I had the good fortune to witness first hand the making of a steamed Christmas pudding. I even tasted one. It’s not too bad. From the 15th to the 19th Century, Figgy Pudding had its hayday, being the traditional pudding served at Christmas time feasts in the British Isles. In fact, the pudding was so good, the carolers would not leave a party until they got some. The British had the right idea, make a fruit-like cake and douse it with booze. Some are even set aflame.
Though made along the same vein as fruit cake, Figgy Pudding doesn’t have the bright red, green or yellow sugared and preserved fruits like today’s fruitcakes, it’s mostly made from mashed up figs. “The most traditional figgy pudding recipe is very similar to a carrot cake base blended with a custard.” So says wiseGEEK
I think you should try the recipe and see if you don’t find it delicious, too. Below is the recipe for Figgy Pudding from About.com:
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup molasses
2 cups dried figs (about 1 pound), stems removed, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Garnish: Whipped cream
Preparation: In an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and molasses and beat again. Add the figs, lemon peel, buttermilk, and walnuts. Blend 1 minute. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend until everything is incorporated. Grease and flour and 8 by 4-inch souffle dish and pour in the batter. Bake in a 325-degree F. oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Spoon the pudding out onto plates or cut it into wedges. Garnish with the whipped cream. Yield: 12 servings
Beyond the symbolism, the Christmas Carols, the trees, the lights, loads and loads of scrumptious food, and of course, the Figgy Pudding, is Holiday traditions. What are your Christmas traditions? Do open one gift on Christmas eve? Watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas?” Visit Santa at the mall. Go caroling? I always go “a Caroling.” Get it. My name is Carol therefore I’m always “Caroling.” Bad joke, I know it.
This is a picture of me and my mom and the baby doll I asked Santa for. Yes, Virginia, I did believe in Santa for a long, long time. Still do.
Whatever your traditions, I’m wishing you a very Happy Holiday celebration with your family and friends around you. I do hope you’ll have a terrific start to a New Year. May your lives be blessed.