The Experts at Figgy’s Share the Secret of A Perfect Christmas Pud
Sunday 25th November is known as ‘Stir Up Sunday’, the traditional day for making your Christmas pudding.
The expression comes from the Anglican Church’s Opening Prayer for the last Sunday before Advent, which begins: ‘Stir up, we beseech thee O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people’. These words served as a reminder to cooks of days gone by that it was time to start weighing, chopping and mixing the fruit so that the rich fruit confections of the season had time to mature in time for Christmas. As well as Christmas Pudding, it was also the perfect time to make Christmas cake and mincemeat.
If you are a perfectionist, you will enjoy the ritual of making a Christmas pudding, and the fragrant steamy atmosphere that fills the kitchen as it bubbles on the hob for hours. There is, however, another way that you and your loved ones can enjoy a sumptuous home-made pud, mixed from the finest ingredients and made exactly as you would at home: Figgy’s Christmas Puddings.
Figgy’s was started ten years ago by Jo and Richie Evans. Unlike many small businesses, they have not been tempted to diversify: they do one thing and they do it superbly. Everything about their puddings is superior to the ones you see in supermarkets and on the high street. They are made from the finest ingredients, including vine-ripened Californian raisins, British Bramley apples and breadcrumbs from the local bakery.
Their juiciness comes from blending Hanlons Port Stout (made in Newton St Cyres, just outside Exeter) with 10 year old Somerset Cider Brandy. They are mixed in small batches, to keep the texture light and prevent the fruit being crushed. They are presented in the old-fashioned way, in ceramic pudding basins. When it comes to Figgy’s nothing but the best will do.
“There are hundreds of recipes out there for Christmas pudding. Every family’s recipe is different and will have changed over the years as it was handed down. The wartime years of shortage meant many housewives had to improvise with what was available, so you find family recipes with carrot, potato and even parsnip sometimes!
Some housewives liked to boil their Christmas Pudding until it was black, whilst other recipes make a lighter, spongier pudding. Our own recipe has been honed and perfected over many years giving a rich fruity flavour, with a light and juicy texture.”
Also worth noting: the puddings are vegetarian-friendly, being made with vegetarian suet.
Jo’s advice to anyone making their own pud:
“This is something that can’t be rushed. Turn off your mobile, put on the radio and relax into it. Involve any children or grandchildren who will love stirring the mixture and making a wish. Make the puddings one day and steam them the next, otherwise you’ll run out of time and still be steaming at midnight!”
In olden days the stirring was a communal activity, with all the family invited to take the wooden spoon and make a wish (which obviously had to remain a secret). Traditionalists stir from east to west in the direction of the sun, or in honour of the Three Wise Men. Recipes from yesteryear limit the ingredients to thirteen, to represent Jesus and his disciples, though not Figgy’s recipe which boasts twenty-two! Many cooks still like to include trinkets like the traditional coin which brings good fortune.
If you want to serve a genuine home-made Christmas pudding but don’t have time to make your own, you can’t do better than Figgy’s which has just achieved a faultless score of 100% and awarded ‘Platinum’ at this year’s Food Drink Devon Awards. Priced from £11.95 to £22.95, with postage at an extremely reasonable £1.95, it is not surprising their puds become more popular every year, and find their way all over the UK and Europe. During the run-up to Christmas, Jo goes on the road, offering tastings and offering advice on every aspect of making and serving puddings.
For further information about Figgy’s Christmas Puddings, please visit www.figgys.co.uk or follow on Twitter @figgyspuddings and ‘Like’ on Facebook, Figgy’s Puddings.