It probably doesn't happen that often, but when you think of figgy pudding (made famous in the Christmas carol We Wish You a Merry Christmas), you probably are imagining an alcohol-soaked, fruitcake-like dessert filled with candied fruit and nuts. You'd be wrong.
That dessert is known as plum pudding (also sometimes called Christmas pudding), which comes from the Victorian era, and is often soaked in alcohol and set on fire. Scary, I know.
(Credit: flickr/Brian Uhreen)
So what is figgy pudding?
Figgy pudding is actually a spiced and steamed porridge-like dessert. The original figgy pudding comes from the Medieval period and looks like a bowl of white slop.
Oh, and figgy doesn't necessarily mean that the pudding is only filled with figs. “Figgy” is a word used for all sorts of dried fruit, including dried figs, apricots, apples, prunes, and sultanas (variety of golden raisins).
(Credit: flickr/Time Anchor)
On the positive side, it’s filled with booze (brandy, to be exact) and spiced with all of the traditional holiday spices we love like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
So there you have it. Consider that next time you request some figgy pudding while singing carols, and know that somewhere a sugar plum fairy weeps for the bowls of breakfast cereal we all sing about.
For more information on figgy pudding and all things Christmas, check out Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas.
Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at the Daily Meal and is currently reevaluating everything she thought she knew about Christmas. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.