Victorian expert Sarah Chrisman shares her adaptation of a classic “figgy” pudding recipe, a holiday staple in Victorian times. Don’t be fooled by its inelegant appearance: there’s a reason carolers sang, “We won’t go until we get some!”
This holiday season we are sharing Victorian recipes, in celebration of our Genealogy Gems Book Club featured author, Sarah Chrisman. Sarah lives her life like it’s the late 1880s. She’ll join us on the Genealogy Gems podcast and Premium podcast in December to tell us all about it–click here to learn more. Meanwhile, enjoy her delicious recipe for a classic fig pudding and a tutorial video that demonstrates making it the old-fashioned way.
“Figgy Pudding” Recipe
“One pound of figs cut fine, imported ones are best but dried domestic ones will answer, one and a half pounds of bread crumbs, one-half pound chopped suet [vegetarian alternative: 8 oz coconut oil, melted and mixed into bread crumbs], twelve ounces moist sugar [brown sugar], a little nutmeg [1 tsp.], two eggs, one teacup of milk. Mix all together and steam four hours [in a pudding bag].” –Plymouth Union Cook Book, 1894. p. 86.
Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to prepare a “figgy pudding” recipe in the old-fashioned way:
Hard Sauce for Puddings
“Beat one egg and half a cup of sugar until very light, then add two tablespoons of softened butter; beat until it will stay piled on a plate; grate in a little nutmeg and put in a very cold place until served.” –Plymouth Union Cook Book, 1894. p.98
More Victorian holiday recipes at Genealogy Gems
Roast Thanksgiving turkey with chestnut stuffing and gravy
Homemade cranberry sauce and hearty vegetable hash
Victorian pumpkin pie: light and delectable
My family has had passed down from one generation to the next a recipe for steamed carrot pudding with a lemon sauce for Christmas.
STEAMED CARROT PUDDING
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp, nutmeg
1/4 tsp, allspice
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tbs, finely chopped candied lemon peel
Combine butter until fluffy. Gradually add brown sugar and heat until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, carrots, raisins, nuts, dates, and lemon peel. Stir into creamed mixture, blending thoroughly. Pour into well buttered 2 quart pudding mold (or 29oz.cans). cover with tin foil. Place cans in kettle about a fourth full of water, steam 3 hours.
Remove cover, let it cool completely before removing from the can. Serve with very hot lemon sauce poured over each slice.
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbs. butter
2 tbs, lemon juice
grated rind from 1/2 lemon
1 cup boiling water
Combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Add to boiling water and cook on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Add lemon juice, rind, and butter.
Hi Gary, Thanks for the recipe! Sounds wonderful. I’m a huge fan of carrot cake (I like my vegetables a little sweet) and this sounds like a pretty similar type of taste.