Figgy Pudding


In the South of England figgy pudding was traditionally served on Palm Sunday, although in the North it was traditionally served on Mothering Sunday. It is said that the custom is connected to the parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9).

We love this pudding, which tastes and smells rather like a bread pudding, and could be served as an alternative to Christmas pudding for those who prefer a lighter dessert (and I use the term “lighter” only in a relative sense). It will not keep as well as Christmas pudding and I would recommend preparing in on Christmas Eve rather than weeks before.

[Additional Note: following a discussion with Reverend Bill Hill - previously vicar of our Parish - in the absence of an orange, this recipe works very well with a measure of Cointreau - enjoy! Bill also recalled “A Wiltshire Bwoy’s Lines on a Girt Big Figgetty Pudden” - the poem is reproduced herrbelow to amuse while your pudding steams!]

Following an exchange with the Late Rev. Bill Hill (ex of this Parish) on the merits of figgy pudding, he was kind enough to share this text from his collection of verse.

A, wen I wur a girt hard bwoy,
We appetite nar mossel coy,
Tha baste thing out ta gie I joy,
Wur a girt big figgetty pudden.

Tha very neam ow’un zeem’d enuff,
An ta smill un, ow did meak I puff,
An lore, ow I did vill an stuff,
When mother mead a pudden.

Every birthday she wur sure to meak,
A girt plum puden an a ceak,
An ax a vew frens to parteak,
Of her nice figgetty pudden.

Tho mother adden much caish to spen,
She mead un good ya may depen,
An verry zoon there wur an en,
Of thick are birthday pudden.

Na vear a any ont getten stale,
If I wur handy an wur hale,
Var me appetite hood never vail,
As long as there wur pudden.

Not that I wur a girt big glutton,
Like a chap as ate a laig of mutton,
Tho me waistcoat oft I did unbutton,
Wen twur a exter girt un.

Wen I wur in tha village quire,
An a veast wur gied ess be tha Squire,
Tha used to com in ael a vire,
An as black mwost as me hat.

An twur rare vun to zee em smoke,
Vor in wine an brandy tha did soak,
An pon me zong it wur na joke,
Aten much a that are pudden.

Var meself I’d zooner av em plain,
Zo’s you can cut an com again,
Wieout tha dread a gien ee pain,
Like tha there brandy puddens.

Wen in ta Zalisbury oft I went,
Var measter on a errant zent,
I warn mwost ael me caish wur spent,
In buyin zim figgetty pudden.

I used to knaa a leetle shop,
In Brown Street wur I off did pop,
An well vill up me hungry crop,
We nice sweet figgetty pudden.

Tha used to beak em in a tin,
An the ooman she did offen grin,
Ta zee ow zoon I did ate in,
Her nice hot figgetty pudden.

Times on times wie vun she’ve cried,
An offen bliged ta hould her zide,
Ta zee ow zoon away I’d hide,
That are dree penneth a pudden.

It done her good, she did declare,
Ta zee I at me pudden there,
An she aelways gied I mourn me share,
Cos I wur vond a pudden.

A oft I thinks apon tha time,
Wen Crismiss bells merry da chime,
Wat a girt pudden, nice an prime,
Mother always mead vor we.

A used ta com in steamin hot,
Nearly as big’s a girt bee pot,
Wie vigs an currands sich a lot,
In mother’s Crismiss pudden.

Lore, ow me young eyes glistened at un,
An feyther used to zay, “odd drat un,
I do believe while I wur chatten,
Thick bwoy ud ate thick pudden.”

Dree sorrens on’t I aelways had,
An feyther he did look like mad,
Bit mother she wur aelways glad,
An zay, “Do let un av his pudden.”

A course I diden ave much mate,
Nar gierden stuff upon me plate,
An pudden aelways wur a trate,
Specially thick one at Crismiss.

Tho I own I did av mourn me whack,
Me lips vor mwore did offen smack,
An me waiscoat offen wur main slack,
Wen tha pudden wur ael gone.

A contented bwoy I aelways wur,
An diden cry an meak a stur,
Wen he wur gone, cos there wurnt mwore,
Like a bwoy I knass who did.

His mother wonce mead a girt pudden,
Thinkin she’d gie her bwoy a do’in,
An ater aten, till na mwore a cudden,
Cry, “Cos a hadden vinished un.”

Wen I grow’d up a biggish bwoy,
Wat they caals a zart a hobbelehoy,
Tha chaps did try I to annoy,
Be callin out figgetty pudden.

Bit there, I diden use to keer,
Var ael their chaff an joke an sneer,
I diden stop it, never vear,
Wen there wur any pudden.

If ever I de av a wife,
Ta live we I ael droo thase life,
I’ll tell her if she dwont want strife,
Ta meak plenty a figgetty puddens.

Begar, I hooden mine betten a crown,
That if a chap is mainly down,
There’s nuthen ‘ll cure un I’ll be bown,
Like a girt big figgetty pudden.

A zeems to drave ael keer away,
An meak yer heart veel lite an gay,
That you’ll zeem merry ael tha day,
Ater aten figgetty pudden.

Zo teak thase hint ael leabourers wives,
If you da wish ver happy lives,
You’ull av em sure if you contrives,
Ta get lots a figgetty puddens.

Ya cant avourd much butcher’s mate,
Ta put upon yer husban’s plate,
Then put a vorn wat he can ate,
A nice girt figgetty pudden.

His health an straingth it will zustain,
An vlesh he’s zartin zure ta gain,
An unger never he’ll complain,
If ya gets un plenty a pudden.

Meself, ael things I hood gie up,
Even do wieout me pipe an cup,
Vor I cud dinner, tay, an zup,
On a nice girt figgetty pudden.


6oz (175g) dried figs (soaked overnight) 4oz (125g) shredded suet
2oz (50g) self-raising flour 8oz (225g) dates, stoned and chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 3oz (75g) raisins
6oz (175g) fresh white breadcrumbs Grated zest and juice of 1 orange (or a splash of Cointreau - see note, left, from Bill Hill)
2oz (50g) preserved ginger (chopped) 2 large eggs
2 tablespoons brandy or sherry  


  1. Having soaked them overnight, drain the figs and chop them.
  2. Sift flour together with the nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add breadcrumbs, suet, chopped ginger, fruit and orange rind.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Beat the eggs together with the brandy or sherry, and the orange juice.
  6. Add to the mixture and stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  7. Put the mixture into a well-buttered 2 pint pudding basin.
  8. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper and a pudding cloth (or if you prefer tin foil, with a pleat in the centre to allow the pudding to rise).
  9. Secure around the rim of the pudding basin with string.
  10. Steam for 4 hours. The wait is worth it!


DRIED FIGS (Soaked overnight)

Ginger Preserved
GINGER (Preserved)

ORANGE (or Cointreau!)