Christmas Traditions – Figgy Pudding

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2006-2010 American Community Survey, 27 different countries of ancestry have been listed for Crawford County alone. The largest reported populations of ancestry are German (19,177), followed by Irish (6,334), American (6,053), English (4,854), Italian (1,934), Dutch (1,222). 

Here we highlight one traditional food that three of the above ancestries share (English, Irish, American): Figgy (Christmas or Plum) Pudding. For best results, make pudding at least 1 month ahead. 

Step 1


  • 1 3/4 C mission figs, diced
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • 1/2 C golden raisins
  • 1/2 C dried currants
  • 1/2 C brandy (or orange juice) 


Dice figs, then toss with remaining fruit in brandy and mix well. Let stand 1 hour (overnight best) stirring occasionally.

Step 2

Prepare Bowl 

Lightly butter a 1.5-liter pudding basin and line its bottom with a circle of parchment paper.  If you don’t have a basin, use a mixing bowl or other large bowl with a rim.

Bowl Cover

Cut a piece of aluminum foil and parchment paper large enough to cover the basin.  Place the parchment on top of the foil, then fold a 1-inch pleat in the center of the covering.

Step 3


  • 1/2 C unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbs molasses
  • 1 Tbs orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped
  •  Prepared soaked fruit mixture from step 1


  • CREAM butter, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy.
  • BEAT in molasses, then add eggs one at a time adding a couple of spoonfuls of the flour with each egg to prevent curdling.
  • FOLD flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder, orange zest, and spices into the egg mixture until smooth and well blended.
  • ADD prepared fruit and brandy mixture (from step 1), gently stirring until well mixed.
  • PACK batter into prepared bowl.

Step 4:

STEAMING (4 hours)

  • In bottom of 6-quart Dutch oven place a metal jar lid topped with the pudding bowl.
  • FILL Dutch oven halfway with boiling water.
  • COVER and heat on stove to a full boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer for 4 to 5 hours. Check every hour or so  to add fresh boiling water to keep same level. 
  • CHECK: Pudding is done when dark brown and skewer to middle comes out clean.
  • COOL AND AGE: Let cool completely (6 to 8 hours). Re-cover with fresh parchment/foil and store in dark place for at least 4 weeks.
  • REHEAT: Just before serving, steam again 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove paper and place on serving plate.
  • SERVE: Pour warm brandy over the warm pudding and ignite it with a long kitchen match for a dramatic presentation of blue flames.  Once the flames die down, garnish with a holly sprig and serve with sauce.

Hard sauce:

  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1C powdered sugar
  • 2Tbs brandy

Mix well. Refrigerate until served