"Oh, we all want some figgy pudding;
Oh, we all want some figgy pudding;
Oh, we all want some figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we've got some;
We won't go until we've got some;
We won't go until we've got some, so bring some out here !"
I'm never actually sure whether figgy pudding is the same as Christmas pudding, but Christmas pudding in some shape or form is an integral part of Christmas celebrations. Even when you're totally stuffed out on turkey and all the trimmings, you just have to have a bowlful of Christmas pud to finish off the meal, even if all you can manage is a token serving ! Different families have different traditions - my dad has his with lashings of custard, I prefer the "lighter" option of vanilla ice cream (it makes it seem less stodgy when you're almready fit to burst !) and Mike has a bit of both on his !
Other traditions go much further back. I can remember my nan starting to make her Christmas puddings just after the end of the summer, then keep topping up the pudding bowl with alcohol about once a month ! And hearing the tales of stirring in sixpences then repeatedly telling everyone to be careful they didn't break their teeth on them ! And putting the pudding on to steam was one of the first things she did on Christmas morning. I wonder what she'd make of shop-bought puddings that you can serve after just 3 minutes in the microwave !
Other traditions go back even further : "Matthew Walker – the oldest Christmas pudding manufacturer – have recently teamed up with Caroline Yeldham, a renowned food historian, to investigate the wonderful history of the famous Christmas pudding. She’s gone right back to Medieval times to uncover the first ever pud as we may know it (Plum Pottage made with beef and intestines plus lots more strange ingredients!) and worked through the ages, to reveal long lost recipes from Tudor times and forgotten traditions. We’ve even uncovered bygone family games and rituals such as Snapdragon, a pre-cursor to the flaming of the Christmas pud where members of the family have to retrieve currants from a flaming bowl." Blimey, I think I will stick with a shop-bought one that I can microwave !
I have actually been meaning to test out a Matthew Walker Christmas pudding for the last couple of weeks, but somehow I just can't bring myself to do it. It seems wrong somehow to eat it before the big day - like eating Easter eggs at any time before Easter Sunday !
Just looking at the box has had me salivating though - it's labelled as "Recipe N° 13, The Perfect Christmas Pudding Recipe" (wow, they're not superstitious are they ?! I wonder how many people will avoid it because of the number 13 !!). "This beautifully moist and fruity pudding combines the finest fruit and our unique blend of spices with cognac and an award winning local stout." And - I've checked the ingredients - it's suitable for vegetarians because it contains vegetable suet. There's not a whiff of beef or intestines in these puddings, rest assured ! A 250g portion does contain 326 calories, 46.5g of sugar and 6.2g of fat but hey, it's Christmas, so who's counting ?!
RRP : £1.79 for an individual 100g pudding, £6.99 for a family 454g pudding
for more information and to buy online : http://www.matthewwalkerchristmaspuddings.co.uk/
There's even a video featuring Santa on there !