Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer! You have probably heard and caroled this line of We Wish You a Merry Christmas many times, but do you know what figgy pudding is? Honestly, I was not really sure myself.
Figgy pudding (or it is often referred to as plum pudding or Christmas pudding) is a traditional British dessert that is served after a large dinner Christmas Day. Recipes date back to the 17th century, and many families in England make the pudding following the same directions that generations of ancestors before them have used.
- It is customary to make the pudding on the 25th Sunday after Trinity (this is generally in November).
- The pudding is best when it has been allowed to age¬†(4 to 5 weeks is common practice in England) so that the flavors meld together.
- 13 ingredients were originally used when preparing this dish, and these were intended to be representative of Christ and the 12 apostles.
- Each family would take turns mixing the ingredients, stirring it from east to west. It is said this was done to pay respect to the Magi‚Äôs journey.
- Although many people do not partake in the following¬†tradition today, a coin (historically it was a silver sixpence) would be hidden somewhere in the pudding. It is believed that the person who found the coin would be brought wealth during the New Year.
- The blazing brandy that is poured over top is supposed to be symbolic of Christ‚Äôs passion.
- It is common to place a holly sprig on pudding as a final garnishment, and this exemplifies Christ‚Äôs Crown of Thorns.
Yield: 8 servings
You will need
- Pudding Basin (1.5 L Capacity)
- Parchment paper
- Aluminum foil
- Large pan (must have enough depth so that ¬Ω the pudding basin can be submerged in water)
- Sprig of holly
- ¬Ω cup raisins
- ¬æ cup sultanas
- ¬æ cup figs, chopped
- ¬º cup candied citrus peel, chopped
- ¬Ω cup glace cherries (candied cherries)
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1 orange (for juice & zest)
- tablespoons butter, unsalted, softened and beaten
- ¬æ cup muscovado sugar (very dark brown sugar)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup self rising flour
- ¬æ cup breadcrumbs
- 1/8 cup almonds, ground
- ¬Ω cup brandy
- Mix all the ingredients from Step 1 together in the pudding basin, cover it, and let it sit overnight.
- Combine the additional ingredients from Step 2 with the fruit mixture.
- Grease the sides of the pudding basin, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease a piece of aluminum foil and crimp it along the basin edge. Tie the string around the top of the bowl (secure it over the foil) so that the steam won‚Äôt escape while it‚Äôs cooking.
- Place the basin in a large pan on the stovetop burner, and carefully pour boiling water into the pan until it rises halfway up the bowl. This will need to simmer for 4 hours. Be sure to add more water to the pan occasionally.
- Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Replace the aluminum cover with a fresh sheet of greased foil, and store the pudding in a cool, dark place until Christmas Day.
- Reheat the pudding in the same manner that it was originally cooked. It only needs to simmer in the water for 1 ¬Ω hours this time. Remove from heat, slide a knife around the basin edges, and flip the pudding onto a plate.
- Warm the additional brandy and pour it into a metal ladle. Be sure the pudding plate is placed where you intend to serve your guests; it is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand. Then light the brandy in the ladle and pour the flaming liquid over the pudding. Once the fire has gone out, place the sprig of holly on top, and you may now dish up this holiday delight.
There are many variations of this recipe where different ingredients and cooking methods are used. If you have friends or family who live in the United Kingdom, why not pay them a visit this holiday season? They will surely have their own version of this pudding. Book your flights to London soon, as the holidays are almost here.