Figgy pudding is a steamed cake-like dessert made from soaked dried fruit and holiday spices. This traditional British dessert has been enjoyed and loved by all at Christmas time for centuries.
I love how far back the figgy pudding recipe dates and how it’s been passed down through generations. Traditional Christmas desserts are so fun to look forward to during the holidays. You can also count on a classic fruit cake during the Christmas season. I also get excited for fudge and these fun cookies my kids want to make every year!
What Is Figgy Pudding?
Figgy pudding is referenced in the popular Christmas song, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Have you ever wondered what figgy pudding is? Also known as Christmas pudding or plum pudding, this dessert is not how Americans know pudding to be. Figgy pudding has evolved into a spice cake texture made from dates, figs, golden raisins, and spices. It originally was more of a wet, sticky, thick porridge made from boiled figs, water, wine, ground almonds, raisins and honey. It later evolved into using ground meat and grains. And now today it is a steamed pudding made from a combination of dried fruits.
I LOVE the spices used in this dessert. The combination of spices enhances with time and creates a delicious dessert packed with so much flavor! I have so many favorite desserts that include some or all of these spices. You will these cookies, this cake, or this amazing rice pudding. I can’t wait for you to try them!
Ingredients For Figgy Pudding
The ingredients list for this figgy pudding recipe may seem long, but I promise it is worth every bite! If you do a lot of holiday baking, then you will already have many of the delicious spices in this recipe. The flavors make the perfect Christmas dessert! See the recipe card below for a list of exact ingredients.
- Dried Figs: The star of this recipe. Christmas time is the easiest time to find dried figs. Save some for garnishing.
- Dried Dates: Dates are amazing when dried!
- Golden Raisins: I LOVE the golden raisins in this recipe. The texture and sweetness are perfect.
- Brandy: This acts as a preservative in the figgy pudding. This is why figgy pudding can last so long.
- Unsalted Butter: I like to use unsalted butter in baking so I can control the salt.
- Brown Sugar: The brown sugar gives it a caramel flavor.
- Eggs: Helps to bind all of the ingredients together.
- Molasses: A thick dark syrup in the baking aisle.
- Lemon Zest: Brightens all the delicious flavors in the pudding.
- All-Purpose Flour: A staple in baking, so most likely you already have this!
- Breadcrumbs: A traditional ingredient in the figgy pudding. Helps hold the ingredients together.
- Baking Powder: Helps leaven and bring volume to the recipe.
- Spices: The combination of the spices in this recipe is incredible.
- Unsalted Butter: I absolutely love flavoring butter!
- Powdered Sugar: Adds sweetness to the butter making it perfect for topping on the figgy pudding.
- Brandy: Feel free to use brandy-flavored extract if you prefer. The addition of brandy is amazing!
- Vanilla: Vanilla extract adds depth to the butter.
Figgy Pudding Recipe
It’s the perfect make-ahead dessert as the flavors only get better over time. Traditionally this recipe has many time-consuming steps. But this is my easy version of a figgy pudding recipe. It is just as delicious half the time!
- Preheat Oven and Prepare Ramekins: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare 6 ramekin dishes by coating them with softened butter, and set them aside.
- Chop and Soak Dried Fruit: Chop your figs and dates, and toss them in a bowl with the raisins and brandy. Cover and allow to soak for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add Eggs, Molasses, and Zest: Add in the eggs, molasses, and lemon zest then mix until combined.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl whisk together your flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, and all the spices.
- Mix Dry Ingredients With Soaked Dried Fruit: Whisk your flour and fruit mixtures into the butter mixture a little at a time. Start by whisking in some of the flour mixture, then add in some fruit and brandy mixture. Alternate by adding the flour mixture and fruit mixture one at a time. Mix the ingredients well.
- Fill Ramekins: Fill each ramekin ¾ of the way full. Don’t fill them completely full because the pudding will rise.
- Cover Ramekins: Cut 6 parchment rounds to fit over each ramekin, and place the round on the batter inside the ramekins. Then cover each with aluminum foil to seal the tops.
- Bake: Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes. Check them after 30 minutes by poking each with a toothpick. The toothpick should come out clean and the puddings will be a dark brown color.
- Cool: Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature. Keep the puddings covered well while they cool so they don’t dry out.
- Combine Butter, Sugar, Brandy, and Vanilla: In a bowl with a hand mixer, whip together the butter, sugar, brandy, and vanilla.
- Beat Until Smooth: Mix the ingredients together until smooth. I beat mine for 5 minutes to get it nice a fluffy.
- Top Pudding With Butter: Once the puddings have cooled, top them with brandy butter and enjoy! You can either enjoy them in the ramekins or take them out of the ramekins and plate them.*
Tips For This Figgy Pudding Recipe
- My Version is EASY: Traditionally figgy pudding is steamed in a pot of simmering water for hours. This recipe was my take on how to do simple figgy pudding that wouldn’t be intimidating to the everyday baker.
- Make In Advance: This recipe is meant to be made in advance then served at room temperature. It will not taste good if you eat it right away. The longer it sits, the better the flavors will be.
- Soak the Dried Fruit: Soak for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. This softens the fruit and improves its flavor.
- Traditional Cooking Method: You can cook these the traditional way by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Place a trivet in the bottom so the ramekins aren’t touching the bottom of the pot. Set the ramekins in the pot. The water should just come up about halfway. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 ½ hours. The indication of the puddings being done are done are the same as when you bake them in the oven.
- Tips For Omitting the Alcohol: The brandy in this recipe serves as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of the pudding. It also enhances the flavors from the ingredients as the pudding sits. You can omit the brandy if you prefer, but the pudding will need to be stored in the fridge. It will not have a shelf life when the brandy is missing. Store it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
How to Store Leftovers
Figgy pudding does not need to be refrigerated. It has been said to keep for up to one year in a cool, dark, dry place if it is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. The alcohol and the high sugar content from the dried fruit will keep it preserved. I have NOT kept leftovers for more than 1 week, but you are welcome to give it a try! I like to make this a few days in advance to enjoy later because the flavors get even better with time.
- 1 ½ cup dried figs, chopped
- ½ cup dried dates, chopped
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup brandy
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons brandy or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit and prepare 6 ramekin dishes by coating them with softened butter, and set aside.
- Chop your figs and dates, and toss them in a bowl with the raisins and brandy. Cover and allow to soak for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together your butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, molasses, and lemon zest, and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together your flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, and all the spices.
- Whisk your flour and fruit mixtures into the butter mixture a little at a time. Start by whisking in some of the flour mixture, then add in some fruit and brandy mixture. Whisk until it’s combined and alternate adding both mixtures until everything is well combined.
- Fill each ramekin ¾ of the way full. Don't fill them completely full because the pudding will rise.
- Cut 6 parchment rounds to fit over each ramekin, and place the round on the batter inside the ramekins. Then cover each with foil to seal the tops.
- Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes. Check them after 30 minutes by poking each with a toothpick, the toothpick should come out clean and the puddings should be a dark brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature. Keep the puddings covered well while they cool so they don’t dry out.
- In a bowl with a hand mixer, whip together the butter, sugar, brandy, and vanilla.
- Mix until everything is combined and smooth, for about 5 minutes.
- Once the puddings have cooled, top them with brandy butter and enjoy! You can either enjoy them in the ramekins or take them out of the ramekins and plate them.*
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.