Stir Up Sunday sorted with our yummy Christmas Pudding Recipe
The last Sunday before Advent is Stir Up Sunday. The “Stir Up” part comes from the Book of Common Prayer – “Stir up, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people” – but it is also the traditional day for concocting your Christmas pudding.
Recipes are many, varied and very, very traditional and we wouldn’t want to argue that anyone’s Granny has had it wrong all these years, but as an absolute basic you need dried fruit, suet and alcohol. Beyond that, it’s a question of personal taste or (our favourite) taking whatever is in the larder and seeing what else Midway Stores has on the shelves.
We went for:
350g mixed currants and sultanas
100g candied peel
50g dried apricots
150ml sweet sherry
100ml sloe gin (yep – home made)
150g dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp of each of: mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves
100g plain flour
1tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
100g fresh brown breadcrumbs
zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
100g flaked almonds
2 tbsp treacle
150ml Ramsbury Silver Pig stout
NB – this makes 1 very big pudding, or 3 smaller ones (1 to keep, the others to give to family and friends).
Put the dried fruit and peel in the sherry and gin on Saturday afternoon and leave to soak overnight.
On Sunday morning, mix up the dry ingredients (i.e. the sugar, spices, zest, suet, almonds, flour, salt and breadcrumbs). Beat the eggs and treacle together then add to the dry ingredients along with the stout, milk and fruit/alcohol mix.
Now the important part: everyone – and we mean everyone – has to stir the mixture 3 times sunwise (clockwise) and make a wish. Don’t stir widdershins (anticlockwise) or bad luck may befall you, and don’t reveal your wish or it may not come true.
Thoroughly grease 1 or more pudding basins and share the mixture among them, making sure no basin is more than three-quarters full. Pop a circular lid of greaseproof paper on top of the mixture and then cover with a piece of pleated foil, tying off with string.
Steam each pudding for 4 hours – you can use a steamer or improvise with a pan of water with a jam jar lid on the bottom. Check the water levels regularly and top up as required. Allow to cool and store somewhere safe, cool, dark and dry until the big day. If you feel your pud is drying out, you can “feed” it by occasionally adding a bit more alcohol (almost anything fortified or distilled will do).
To serve, steam for a further 1.5 hours (or, let’s face it, microwave for 5 minutes) then arrange it on a plate. Stuff in a few sixpences or similar as lucky charms. To get the flaming effect, warm a ladleful of rum, whisky or brandy over a flame and light it before pouring over the pudding. Be very careful! Flaming liquids are dangerous most days of the year and doubly so on Christmas Day. You don’t want anyone or anything injured, damaged, burnt, spilled or wasted.
Serve with brandy butter or ice-cream.