~The Story Behind My Figgy Pudding Recipe~
My Christmas Figgy Pudding Adventure
It all started one evening, as I was watching a Christmas movie on TV. A couple of characters encountered a group of carolers singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” As the carolers finished, one of the characters proudly proclaimed to the other, “Did you know figgy pudding does not contain figs nor is it pudding. It’s more like cake.”
As an American, I didn’t know much about some of the gloriously English traditions like figgy pudding. I wondered if this information was true, or not.
Search for the Real Story
Since I’m curious by nature, I started investigating. It turns out the movie character was only partially right. Figgy pudding is frequently known as Christmas pudding, especially when it doesn’t contain figs. But it does have plenty of dried fruit in it—and can have (and frequently does have) figs in it. But it is more like a cake, than a pudding. The descriptions I read reminded me a little of bread pudding.
Wikipedia (which cites several sources, including the Oxford dictionary) has this to say about figgy pudding.
Figgy pudding dates back to 16th century England. Its possible ancestors include savory puddings, such as crustades, fygeye or figge (a potage of mashed figs thickened with bread), creme boiled (a kind of stirred custard), and sippets (croutons). In any case, its methods and ingredients appear in diverse older recipes, for instance in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management.
Today, the term figgy pudding is popularised mainly by the Christmas carol “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” which includes the line, “Now bring us some figgy pudding”. A variety of nineteenth-century sources state, in the West Country of England (from which the carol comes), “figgy pudding” referred to a raisin or plum pudding, not necessarily one containing figs.
How interesting? Since it can be steamed, an idea came to me. I wonder if I could make figgy pudding in my new Instant Pot?
I LOVE my new Instant Pot!
Finding the Right Recipe with the Right Method
More research ensued. I found several recipes—specifically (more…)