Michele Chandler (right) prepares a sample of her King George pudding. The traditional English dessert is being sampled and sold for the first time this year at Dickens Christmas.
Photo by Joe Genco.
Though most of the characters in Dickens Christmas have sung “now bring us some figgy pudding” from “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” many of them had never tried the dessert, until this year.
New this year, festival goers have the chance to sample some authentic figgy pudding made by Michele Chandler of Puddings Matter.
Chandler has been giving out free samples and selling her puddings at Mid-Lakes Navigation during this year’s festival.
Though they live in Toronto, Chandler and husband Bob Gilfoil have plenty of Skaneateles connections. Bob is a native of Skaneateles and his family owns a summer house in town. In addition to being familiar with the community, Dickens seemed like a good fit for promoting the puddings due to the English connection, Chandler said.
The puddings are a staple at Christmas time in England, in fact, in “A Christmas Carol” there is mention of Mrs. Cratchit serving figgy pudding at dinner. The namesake of the pudding is King George I, of England, who was know as the “Pudding King” and is credited as popularizing the dish during his reign in the early 1700s.
The dessert, also sometimes called plum pudding, takes about three weeks to complete. It is composed mostly of dried fruits which are soaked in brandy and then left to dry. It can also be topped with warm brandy and lit on fire before being served.
Michele said she had perfected the recipe for her puddings over the past 10 years, when she would make them every year for friends and relatives. After realizing that there was no comparable authentic English pudding on the market in North America, she decided to start selling hers. This led to the launch of Puddings Matter with partner Sue Buchanan, which so far has been a success, Chandler said.