What is Figgy Pudding?

Tis the season for festive treats that are out of place the rest of the year. Richly tasty or simply classic desserts find their way onto the table this December. These traditional holiday desserts include fruit cake, a yule log, and figgy pudding. Yes, like the strange dessert in the song. 

“Now bring us some figgy pudding…” 

A fig pudding? But that sounds disgusting. Immortalized in the 16th century by carolers, figgy pudding is a term that is a mystery to many. What is figgy pudding and why would you want to eat it? 

There are a few things to consider. First, figgy does not mean that it is a fig pudding. Rather, it means the dessert is made of your choice of dried fruit. Second, pudding does not refer to the kid’s dessert. It’s a British term for any kind of dessert, not just chocolate pudding. It’s a relief to know carolers weren’t demanding crushed fig pudding but a fruity dessert.

Southeast Dairy Association - buttermilk bundt cake
Like with our Buttermilk Lemon Bundt Cake, buttermilk adds an extra hint of a creamy and sweet taste to figgy pudding.

As to what it actually is, figgy pudding is a dessert comprised of dried fruits, spices, and buttermilk—when non-alcoholic. It is traditionally first prepared about 5 weeks before Christmas on the Sunday before Advent. The process takes some time as the ingredients are supposed to be slowly boiled and aged. When made with alcohol to intensify the flavor, the dessert is set aflame before being served. In place of alcoholic versions, figgy pudding has become sweeter—and faster—with time thanks to added spices and dairy. It may be topped with whipped cream, custard, or ice cream for extra sweetness. Instead of the traditional ball-shape, figgy pudding is often made like a bundt. 

“We won’t go until we get some…” 

With that in mind, it makes much more sense why these stubborn carolers would hold out for some figgy pudding on a winter day. A slice does sound nice. 

What holiday dessert are you making this year? Classic and with a delicious buttermilk tang, consider a sweet figgy pudding this year. 

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