I received a request for a post topic from my good friend Ms.Chloe. She asked if I could research the history of figgy pudding, find out what it is, and why are the carolers so demanding of it in the classic Christmas song "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"? I have often wondered about this myself. An excellent suggestion Ms.Chloe!
Christmas and figgy puddings are more like a cake, though are steamed rather than baked, so are quite moist. They are a dense dessert made with chopped figs (in the case of the figgy kind) raisins and dates (in the case of Christmas pudding), flour, sugar, eggs, brandy or rum and spices. The batter is cooked in a bowl, or bundt pan, inside a larger vessel of boiling water, effectively steming the dish and cooking it very evenly. It can even be cooked weeks ahead of time, as like fruitcake it can last a long time. Both types are sometimes doused in either brandy or rum and set alight for a visual treat. There is also a lovely sweet sauce, something like an icing, that is often drizzled overtop, which I find quite lovely.
As for why the carolers are so demanding..I'm not sure about their rudeness, but it was a tradition from at least Medieval times for the poor to go from house to house singing at this time of year, in return for food or drink (also called wassailing). "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a 16th century British West Country carol that mentions the delight of figgy pudding. While I have tried Christmas pudding (and enjoy it), I have not tried figgy pudding so it remains a mystery to me. It must be good though to have people demand it so much.
Here is a little video from Horrible Histories (love these guys) about the history of caroling.
Have you tried figgy or Christmas pudding? What are your thoughts of it?