Now Bring Me Some Figgy Pudding

Figgy Pudding Final Picture

Most of us love the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. We see this phrase everywhere from Christmas cards to decorations. But there are lyrics that take us back to the Victorian time period:

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer;

We won’t go until we get some;
We won’t go until we get some;
We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here<img

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I thought this was a Victorian dessert that we no longer would make. That was until my brother-in-law brought it to a party last year. It seemed rather foreign and yet interesting since it connects us with the “Ebenezer Scrooge” movie when the Cratchit’s family is having their Christmas dinner. It seems in the Victorian times dinner and the dessert was a big event! I like how presenting the dessert is so important with the whole family waiting to view it. Then the wonderful applause when the family witnesses how beautiful the dessert came out. I imagine it was difficult to bake in the family hearth, which was located in the fireplace. It had to be easy to burn and ruin the dessert. So it must have been such a relief to the cook when her dessert not only came out but the whole family appreciated her efforts! Maybe that is something we should do today. Have a celebration when the dessert is presented.

Victorian Figgy Pudding

Picture is from Jane Austen’s World. I would encourage you to learn more about Victorian life and figgy pudding from this website.

Since I enjoy studying the Victorian time period, I thought it was time to make figgy pudding! There are a lot of different recipes but it is basically a spice cake with figs… and you set it on fire with rum! So it is a fun pudding to make and serve. Ideally you bring it into the dining room with the figgy pudding on fire! Maybe surprise your guests next time with this pudding. Oh yeah… I thought it would be a pudding type texture. But as I understand in the UK pudding means “dessert” and not necessarily a custard dessert as we know in the US. Another mystery solved!

There are many variations of this recipe as some people add raisins and other dried fruit. It does take some time to bake so you could put it in the oven while you are having your Christmas dinner. It is best served warm or at room temperature to enjoy the flavors. Feel free to make it ahead as the flavors gets better over time. Just store it wrapped tightly with saran wrap then reheat in the microwave – removing the saran wrap. If you want to use a hard icing and set it on fire then it needs to be warm.

Some people like to wrap the finished figgy pudding with several layers of cheesecloth and then pour some rum over the cake and let it soak. You can also soak the cheesecloth first with rum and then wrap the figgy pudding. Or you could serve it non-alcoholic with an icing. Some people call figgy pudding Christmas pudding or plum pudding. Others say there is a difference. If you happen to know, let me know what it is. In Old England, the poorer class used rum and the richer class used bourbon. You can use whichever your prefer because the alcohol will burn off when set on fire and leave the flavor of the alcohol. So select your alcohol based upon the flavor you like.

Figgy Pudding Ingredients

Figgy Pudding
1/2-cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
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

Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the eggs, 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 an 8 by 4-inch soufflé dish or Bundt pan. Try to use a pan that is decorative because it will be part of your final presentation. 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. Another option is to steam the pudding for 2-hours by setting the cake pan in pot of water covering both with foil.

Figgy Pudding in Bundt Pan

Hard Sauce for the Figgy Pudding
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter — softened
2 tbsp rum or bourbon
1/2 tsp vanilla

To Flame the Figgy Pudding
We did not add fire to the Figgy pudding but below are the steps I read through different websites. Being careful is most likely the most important step since you will have a flame and it will get hot. I do not recommend setting it on fire due to the potential hazards of the fire not being contained. 
• The pudding needs to be warm because the heat from the pudding will allow the flames to rise up.
• Put the pudding on a heatproof, sturdy plate. If you are going to carry the flaming figgy pudding to another room, have a route cleared plus where you are going to set the pudding. You will want to have a hot pad or something to protect the table and remove any flammable items that might be near the pudding.
• Pour a cup or two of rum or bourbon over the pudding.
• Strike a long match or fireplace light touching the flame to the base of the pudding.
• Once the flame covers the pudding carry it to the dining room and place on heatproof pad.
• Once the flame dies down, spoon the hard sauce onto the pudding. It will melt down the side of the pudding.

Soaking Figgy Pudding with Rum
I wrapped my warm figgy pudding with cheesecloth and pour some rum over the top to allow it to soak through the pudding. I then poured the hard sauce over it. Because the cake is still hot, the hard sauce will melt and is just fabulous! Serve it warm or at room temperature. Remember to store it tightly wrapped so it does not dry out! If you will not finish the entire figgy pudding then only pour the hard icing over the portion you will eat. Then when ready to have another piece, reheat in the microwave, pour some of the hard sauce and let it melt. Then enjoy! Let me know your experiences with making or enjoying figgy pudding!

Figgy Pudding Wrapped in Cheese cloth

Figgy Pudding with icing

Figgy Pudding with melted icing


    1. Thank you – it is such an interesting time. If you go to the website I mentioned in my blog for Jane Austin – there is a lot of great information on the Victorian time period. Especially on figgy pudding. The figgy pudding is really good! You could add other dried fruits if you want.

  1. This looks really good. Thanks for the bit of history and looking at the different sights for us! But why does it look like a kind of blackened round ball with a crust they break through? It looks as though he “breaks through the crust or shell, scoops out the “pudding” taking the first tast.

    1. I made it with a bundt pan giving it that round ball look. It is a dark cake plus I poured rum on it which also makes it look darker. You could bake it in any type of pan based upon how you want it to look. You could also bake small individual servings in ramekins. You are partially correct – if you soak the figgy pudding in rum and then pour the icing on it while it is warm you have a bit of a crust. Then when you cut into the figgy pudding the rum makes it very moist inside. I was told by friends in the UK that it was common to make this weeks ahead allowing it to soak in the alcohol!

    1. Thanks. The rum adds a really nice touch. I added it to my icing and it was incredible! If you are brave you can start it on fire and bring it into the dining room. Something I have not tried! My husband is not too crazy about that option, ha ha ha. Thanks for stopping by. Bernice

      1. Pudding is dessert in England. Recall the words in the Christmas carol Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House we Go… is the pudding done? Hooray for the pumpkin pie”

  2. That pudding looks delicious! That particular line gets stuck in my head each Christmas…must be something to do with the combination of words “figgy” and “pudding”…drool. Look forward to trying this one out 🙂

  3. I always wondered what figgy pudding was…thanks for explaining it! I have to admit, it sounds delicious since I love figs (and rum)! 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: