Carolers came by my front door and sang a song with the lyric, “Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding.” I was terribly embarrassed by this because I didn’t have any treats for the dozen or so singers. So, I ran into my kitchen and looked up the recipe for Figgy Pudding. To my dismay, I had none of the required ingredients- buttermilk, sliced almonds, marmalade, coarsely chopped Calimyrna figs. I rolled up my sleeves to try and make something serviceable using substitute ingredients, but I stopped in my tracks when I noticed that the cook time was two and half hours…

After I chased the singers off of my property for having the audacity to show up as an unannounced mob to demand exotic food, I decided to look up where this figgy pudding tradition came from.
This one hails from medieval era Britain where a “heavily spiced boiled fruit cake that was doused in brandy and then set on fire” was given as a gift. The cake itself was not supposed to be the gift in and of itself. Traditionally, coins were hidden inside the cake as an extra gift and an easy way to chip a tooth. Interestingly, there is a 700 year old decree from the Roman Catholic Church that says that this pudding should have every “family member stir [the pudding] in turn from east to west” which may account for why the final product is traditionally hard, unevenly cooked, and poorly blended.

So, the next time you get a fruit cake or pudding as a gift, take the time to bash the thing open to make sure there are no golden ducats tucked away inside.