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We've all sung about figgy pudding — but what the heck is it?

Sarah grew up in Monterey, CA and now lives in Los Angeles. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying a good book, fine wine, sunflowers and long walks on the beach.

All your burning questions about figgy pudding answered

We're going to go out on a limb here and say a good chunk of the American population has sung the lyrics "Now bring us some figgy pudding" at least once their lives. But what the heck even is figgy pudding? In short, it's a boozy, sweet cake that gets lit on fire.

Bet you didn't see that one coming.

More: 12 stiff cocktails to get you through the 12 Days of Christmas

An ancient dessert from yore

Figgy pudding is a British food that dates back to the mid-1600s according to figgy pudding expert Debbie Waugh, via NPR. It was banned by English Puritans — probably because it's drenched in booze.

It's actually more like cake than pudding and is made of dried fruit, seasonings (such as nutmeg and cinnamon) and a boatload of booze. Did we mention there's booze?

Let's get to the alcohol

We know the mention of booze has gotten your attention, and yes, figgy pudding contains a ton of it. Most recipes include cognac and rum, but if you're feeling especially saucy, you can drizzle even more alcohol over the top after it's been baked and light it on fire. Huzzah.

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They're ain't no figs or plums

Don't be fooled by the name of the dish — you will not be getting figgy with it. Most modern-day recipes don't have figs in them.

"The 'plum' was a pre-Victorian generic term for any type of dried fruit, but most specifically, raisins," Waugh explains. "Certainly at some time figs would have been incorporated into Christmas pudding recipes, but today, not traditionally."

It actually has a fun ritual attached to it

As if getting drunk off a cake you light on fire isn't enough Christmas adventure, there's even more fun behind what's quickly becoming our new favorite holiday dessert.

"Everyone in the house is meant to have a hand in making the pudding, so everyone should grab the whisk, and together, give it at least one turn around the bowl while — here's the best part — making a wish," Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking: From My Home to Yours, told NPR in 2007. "If you'd like, you could even stir a little trinket into the batter. Do this, and the person who finds it will be guaranteed good luck."

More: 20 ways to love Frangelico, the hazelnut liqueur we're obsessed with

The million-dollar question: Is it any good?

Greenspan also reluctantly admitted to NPR that figgy pudding is somewhat similar to a certain notorious Christmas dessert — the dreaded fruitcake.

Still, Greenspan says figgy pudding shouldn't be avoided for that reason.

"I was afraid to say it because fruitcake has such a bad reputation, but [figgy pudding] is steamed; it's chockablock with dried fruits; it's so boozy. ... It's delicious," she said.

Grab Greenspan's recipe for figgy pudding here. Her version actually does have figs in it — so you can get figgy with it this Christmas, after all.

More: Haylie Duff's foolproof entertaining tips for last-minute guests

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

All your burning questions about figgy pudding answered
Image: Carolyn Ketchum

Originally published December 2011. Updated December 2016.

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