Figgy Pudding

figgy

Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped Dried Figs
1 cup pitted and chopped Dried Dates
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Brandy
1½ cups Self Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar Powder
2 Eggs
1 cup Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon grated Orange Zest
100 gms grated Dark Chocolate
Directions:

  1. Put oven on preheat to 325 degrees F.
  2. Sieve flour and keep aside until required. Grease and flour 9-inch diameter baking pan.
  3. Mix chopped dates and chopped figs in a bowl. Heat water in a saucepan until it starts to boil and pour it over dates and figs in a bowl. Stir in baking soda and keep aside to cool for 7-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer date and fig mixture to blender, add brandy and make a puree.
  5. Take another bowl, beat butter and sugar in it until smooth. Add eggs and beat again until fluffy and light.
  6. Fold in the flour, breadcrumbs, ground nutmeg, grated orange zest, pureed date and fig mixture and grated dark chocolate.
  7. Pour prepared batter in a greased baking pan and place it in a preheated oven.
  8. Bake until pudding is perfectly set or for around an hour. To verify if pudding is fully backed or not, insert the toothpick in center and check if it comes out clean. If it does, then it is properly cooked otherwise cook it more for 5-10 minutes.
  9. After verifying that it is perfectly cooked, take out backing pan from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes.
  10. Turn out the prepared figgy pudding onto a serving plate and serve with cream or ice cream.
Tips and Variations:

  • For rich and exotic taste, add walnuts and raisins while preparing batter in step-6.
  • Instead of putting baking pan directly in oven, you can put a larger pan in oven, put a baking pan in the middle of it, pour hot water around it and let it cook for 3 to 4 hours. The fig pudding prepared using this technique is more traditional and better tasting but painfully slow to cook and requires frequent check to make sure that it does not get over cooked.

 

Food makes an appearance in plenty of Christmas carols, from corn for popping to chestnuts roasting over an open fire. But as NPR reports, one of the most cited yet mysterious Christmas carol dishes is “figgy pudding”—a treat that neither contains figs, nor is a pudding in the American sense.

NPR points out that “figgy pudding” is in fact just a seemingly misinformed synonym for “plum pudding,” a British Christmas favorite. In fact, figgy pudding or Christmas pudding has a long, delicious history—one dating back to at least the 17th century. Here are a few great moments in the history of that holiday staple:

Meaty Beginnings

Oddly, today’s sweet plum pudding hails from a meatier dish. As Maggie Black writes in History Today, the dish that eventually evolved into plum pudding originally contained preserved, sweetened meat “pyes” and boiled “pottage” (that is, vegetables) and was enjoyed in Britain as early as Roman times. By Elizabeth I’s day, writes Black, prunes had come into vogue, “and their name became a portmanteau label for all dried fruits.” As plums became synonymous with fruit, plum dishes with and without meat became party food.

“Stir-Up Sunday”

Steamed plum puddings soon became much-anticipated Christmas treats that required plenty of patience. By the 19th century, cooks traditionally gave their plum puddings at least a month to develop their signature spicy flavors. On “Stir-Up Sunday,” the Sunday before Advent which falls five Sundays before Christmas, entire families would make their Christmas pudding. The name of the day wasn’t derived from an actual need to stir up a pudding at all, but rather from a line traditionally read that Sunday at church. Back at home, pudding-making families would each stir the mixture and hope for good luck. NPR notes that the favored recipe had 13 ingredients, which represented Jesus and each of the Twelve Apostles.

Dickensian Delights 

Charles Dickens managed to almost single handedly revive old Christmas traditions with his 1843 book A Christmas Carol, which celebrated a nostalgic holiday of redemption and love. One of the traditions he upheld was that of the now-iconic Christmas pudding. In a long passage, he shows Mrs. Cratchit steaming and preparing the pudding for her excited family:

Suppose it should not be done enough! Suppose it should break in turning out! …All sorts of horrors were supposed….

In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered—flushed, but smiling proudly—with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

Maybe Mrs. Cratchit used this 1837 recipe, which features bread crumbs, flour, suet, sugar, currants, raisins, candied citron, orange peel, lemon peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, brandy, white wine and eggs.

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” 

It’s not entirely certain where the carol that contains the famous reference to a figgy pudding comes from. In 1939, a composer named Arthur Warrell received a copyright for the carol “A Merry Christmas,” but acknowledged that it was an arrangement of a traditional English song. The carol is thought to date from the 16th or 17th century, when carolers demanded refreshments like figgy pudding to keep them going throughout the chilly English nights. These days, carolers aren’t as insistent on their figgy pudding, and neither, it seems, are families—at least not for the homemade variety. The Telegraph’s Gary Cleland writes that two-thirds of British children have never stirred up a pudding of their own.
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brief-history-figgy-pudding-180957600/#dzK6tl71FTWb26uJ.99

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4 Responses to Figgy Pudding

  1. Susan Collier Lamont says:

    Decades ago, the NYT Magazine had a recipe for Plum Pudding – made with suet. It took forever to make, was really delicious, and, according to the recipe, was 6,000 calories per serving! We had 1/2 servings and spared our waistlines, NOT!

  2. Sara Harris says:

    This is wonderful. Michael! Have you ever made this? I am going to print it out for next year!

  3. Tara Crowley says:

    hmmmm…I’ll see if my daughter or son-in-law want to try this with me Christmas eve. The altitude in Colorado will have me a bit beaten down (it usually takes me a week to acclimate). Hope you have a wonderful Christmas filled with good food and love. And a toast to Trace.

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