If you’re someone who is well versed in the making of Christmas Pudding, you’ll already be aware of Stir Up Sunday, but if not, here is a brief run down of why this day is so important.
Traditionally, Stir Up Sunday is the day when families get together to prepare the Christmas Pudding something that began back in Victorian times, but actually, it goes back much further than that. Stir Up Sunday is also known as the last Sunday before Advent and it gets its name from the Book of Common Prayer. Like most Christmas traditions, the day gained popularity during Queen Victoria’s reign. Like lighting up a Christmas tree, finishing your dinner with a Christmas Pudding was also introduced by her husband, Prince Albert, though the actual pudding recipe is thought to go back to the times of King George I. Apparently, Christmas Pudding was Prince Albert’s favourite dessert!
If you’re someone who is familiar with the baking of fruit based cakes and puddings, you’ll know that you have to make them well in advance. Stir Up Sunday marks five weeks until the big day, making it the perfect time to get together and prepare your pudding! Traditionally, the family would gather together to mix the ingredients, with each one taking a turn to stir the mixture while making a wish, the mixture needs to be stirred from east to west – in honour of the Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. It was also tradition to add a coin to the mix… Though, for health and safety reasons, we wouldn’t recommend doing that! Otherwise, it’s a nice way to get together and do something as a family group, especially as so many of the usual festive activities have been cancelled or postponed this year.
Want to give it a try?
Here’s a basic Christmas pudding recipe – pretty much every variety will include dried fruit, mixed spice, candied peel, treacle, suet and brown sugar. Altogether there should be thirteen ingredients, to represent Jesus and his disciples.
55 g suet
200g dark brown sugar
70g self raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
155g fresh breadcrumbs
1 small apple
finely grated rind of one lemon
juice of one lemon or orange
Get a pudding bowl and make sure it is well greased.
Beat the suet, butter and sugar together until soft, then add the flour, eggs and spices until well mixed, then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Put the mix in the bowl and flatten the top.
Cut a disc of parchment paper the size of the top, butter it and place on top of the mixture. Tear a piece of aluminium foil large enough to cover the top of the bowl and go halfway down the sides. Create a pleat down the centre so that the pudding will have space to expand from cooking.
Steam for 6 hours, checking the water level once every hour. If you don’t have a steamer, you can put it in a pot and fill the water to half way and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Once the pudding is steamed, remove the aluminium foil, wipe the bowl and replace with fresh parchment paper. Store it in a cool place.
On the day, you can then steam for another two hours or just microwave it for a few minutes until it is piping hot. Place on a heatproof dish and douse with brandy, carefully light the pudding – make sure it is safe to do so! And then when the flame has gone, cut the pudding and serve with the accompaniment of your choice – cream, custard or brandy sauce are firm favourites.
Alternatively, you could just buy a pudding from one of our incredible local bakers!