Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and was therefore Stir-Up Sunday. This is so called because the collect on the Sunday before Advent begins “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded.”
For those of us more focussed on our tummies, this prayer acts as a reminder to stir up fruit of the dried variety and reward ourselves with a delicious Christmas Pudding. I always get anyone in the house at the time to take a turn at stirring and make a wish while they do so. My recipe makes enough pudding to feed a small market town, as it is a variation on my grandmother’s recipe from a time when they made two puddings, one to be eaten this year and one to be kept for next. I don’t hold with this as a year old pudding strikes me as being fairly pointless and a tradition too far. If you are determined to do it, simply double the quantities listed below.
If you have nut allergists in the house, leave out the almonds and add an extra ounce of raisins or cherries.
And don’t forget, a home made Christmas Pud. makes a lovely and welcome gift, wrapped in a muslin cloth with an attractive ribbon, so think ahead. Imagine the delight of receiving a bottle of home made Sloe Gin and a round fat pudding; it stirs me up, to be sure.
And another thing. Do remember to put some choking hazards in the pudding before you serve it. A silver coin or a lovely charm are absolutely necessary in your Christmas Pudding and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
1 x very large mixing bowl
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x grater
1 x large pudding bowl suitable for steaming – if you have a pudding bowl with a pierced lid, you won’t need the greaseproof, scissors or string
1 x large pan for steaming
¼ lb / 120g self raising flour
¼ lb / 120g wholemeal or granary breadcrumbs
¼ lb / 120g suet
¼ lb / 120g currants
¼ lb / 120g raisins
¼ lb / 120g sultanas
¼ lb / 120g glace cherries – quartered
3oz / 90g dark brown sugar
2oz / 60g flaked almonds
1 apple – peeled cored and finely chopped
1/8 tsp mixed spice
¼ tspn cinnamon
1/8 tspn nutmeg
the juice and grated rind of ½ lemon
2 large eggs (or 3 small to medium)
1 tablespoon black treacle
1/8 pint / 75ml brandy
¼ pint / 150ml bitter beer
Mix the flour, breadcrumbs and suet together
Add the dried fruit, almonds, apple, cherries and spices and mix well
Add the eggs, treacle, brandy, bitter beer and lemon and mix thoroughly
Cut a circle of greaseproof paper about 4″ / 9cm larger than the circumference of the pudding bowl
Make a pleat in the middle of the greaseproof paper (to allow for expansion)
Put the mixture into the pudding bowl and flatten the top, leaving at least 1″ / 2.5cm between the mixture and the rim of the bowl
Place the greaseproof paper on top and tie onto the bowl with string
Place the pudding into the large pan and fill with water half way up the pudding bowl
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 8 hours, constantly topping up the water.
When the pudding is cooked and cooled, wrap it in greaseproof paper, then wrap it again in a muslin cloth
Hang it in a cool place in your kitchen until Christmas
When you come to eat it, it can be steamed again for 3 hours or heated in the microwave for about 4 minutes! The decision is yours.