I was inspired to make figgy pudding for our Christmas dinner this year. For those who don't know, figgy pudding, also known as plum pudding or Christmas pudding, is a traditional British dessert. Although it does not contain figs or plums, it got its "plum" name from a pre-Victorian generic term for any type of dried fruit, most specifically, raisins. It is also a "pudding" in the British sense, meaning dessert, and not the creamy dish that is familiar to Americans. So what is figgy pudding? It is a steamed cake full of raisins, currants, and brandy. The pudding is prepared well in advance (usually the last Sunday before Advent or 5 weeks before Christmas) in order to let the pudding age so that the alcohol can draw out more flavors.
While researching recipes for our figgy pudding, I was intrigued to learn of the Christian symbolism inherent in this delicacy:
Even though our figgy pudding was not started 5 weeks before Christmas (the inspiration came too late), and it will not be set aflame (for fear of burning down the house), we will cherish the history of the dish, relish the tastes of the season, enjoy the sharing of our food, and offer thanks for the meanings that were made real for us.
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."