ISLAND FLAVORS It's time to 'bring out the figgy puddings'

As Christmas draws near, I find myself singing Christmas carols, and longing for our family’s traditional holiday foods. When I was young, our neighborhood joined together each year to go caroling. One of my favorite songs, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” included the softhearted demand: “Now bring us some figgy pudding!” This was followed by “We won’t go until we get some!”

I didn’t know what figgy pudding was, but I was very familiar with my mother’s Orange Marmalade Pudding, which made its way to all of our holiday tables. Steaming hot, and infused with the wonderful scent of orange, this rich pudding was topped with a creamy sauce flavored with rum that melted into it, soaking into every delicious nook and cranny of the pudding. For me, nothing speaks of the holidays more than this humble dessert.

We still make Orange Marmalade Pudding at Christmas and Thanksgiving, a tradition that started with my Grandma DuPuis. When we feel a need for change, we turn to her other recipe for Brownie Pudding. This rich pudding is made in a very interesting manner (as you will see in the recipe). It comes out almost like an upside down cake, with a rich chocolaty sauce on the bottom and a luscious, dense pudding on top. We top it with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream. If you love chocolate, this is for you.

Now, I’m off to search for my collection of Christmas music, but I’ll wait a bit until I decide which pudding it will be this year. Perhaps I will even try concocting a real “Figgy Pudding.”


This pudding reheats beautifully and will keep up to four days. To reheat, wrap it in foil and place in a preheated 350 F. degree oven until heated through. The Hard Sauce can also be re-warmed. The original recipe called for suet, but you can substitute any other hard shortening, such as Crisco, butter, or margarine (to substitute, reduce the amount of shortening by 1/2).

Serves 6

4tablespoons sugar

1cup flour

1/2teaspoon salt

1teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon baking powder

1cup ground suet or 1/2 cup Crisco, butter or margarine (chilled and diced)

1 1/2cups whole wheat bread crumbs

1egg, lightly beaten

1cup orange marmalade

1cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Into a mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the ground suet and breadcrumbs, and mix thoroughly with your hands, until the mixture resembles rough cornmeal. Stir in the egg, orange marmalade and milk, mixing well.

Grease a 1-quart capacity pudding mold, or an 8 1/2” by 4 1/2” bread pan. Pour the batter into the mold, cover tightly with foil, and set the pudding in a larger baking pan filled with water halfway up the sides of the pudding mold.

Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges and invert onto a plate.

Hard Sauce:

3/4cup melted butter

1cup powdered sugar

1egg, beaten

1teaspoon vanilla extract, brandy, or rum

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Serve warm drizzled over the pudding.


Serves 6

1cup flour

3/4cup sugar

1/4teaspoon salt

2teaspoons baking powder

1/2cup milk

2tablespoons melted butter

1teaspoon vanilla extract

2ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1/2cup granulated sugar

1/2cup brown sugar

4rounded tablespoons cocoa powder

1cup warm water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8” X 8” square baking dish.

Sift together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in the milk, vanilla, melted butter, and melted chocolate, mixing well. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Mix together the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Sprinkle this mixture over the first mixture. Pour the water over the top. Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, or until the cake portion is set. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

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