Stir Up Sunday

/ Categories Tricks of the trade, Cooking conundrums, Recipes, Behind the scenes / Author:

Stir Up Sunday

Christmas is approaching faster than you can say "Ho, ho, ho," and that means it's time to get baking! Stir Up Sunday falls on 25th November this year and we've put together the wherewithal to ensure you make your best Christmas pudding yet.

Ingredients

Serves 8


60g mixed dried apricots and dried figs
1 lemon
50g raisins
30g currants
50g sultanas
20g chopped mixed peel
75ml brown ale
½ tbsp rum
1 teabag
30g prunes
60g butter, softened, plus extra to grease
½ small dessert apple
20g blanched almonds
85g soft dark brown sugar
½ tbsp treacle
1 small egg, at room temperature
30g self-raising flour
¼ tsp ground mixed spice
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Small pinch of ground ginger
Small pinch of salt
60g fresh white breadcrumbs


Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the apricots and figs. Finely grate the zest from the lemon, then squeeze the juice from half the lemon. Put the raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel into a bowl and add the ale, rum and lemon zest and juice. Cover and leave to soak overnight. Make a pot of tea with the teabag and leave to cool. Put the prunes in a separate bowl, pour over the cold tea and leave to soak overnight.
  2. When ready to steam the pudding, grease a 1 litre pudding basin with butter. Prepare the saucepan for steaming and the cover for the pudding.
  3. Drain the prunes, discarding the tea, then coarsely chop them and add to the fruit and beer. Grate the unpeeled apple and finely chop the almonds.
  4. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Stir in the treacle.
  5. Beat the egg and gradually add to the creamed butter and sugar, beating well after each addition.
  6. Sift the flour, spices and salt together over the mixture. Add the breadcrumbs and fold in with a large spoon. Stir in the nuts, dried fruit and soaking liquor.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the buttered pudding basin and level the surface. Cover with the greaseproof paper and foil and secure under the rim, leaving a string handle to make it easier to lift the pudding.
  8. Place the pudding basin on the trivet in the steamer and pour in enough boiling water to come at least halfway up the sides of the basin (not touching the foil). Place the pan over a medium heat and ensure the water is bubbling gently, but still not coming into contact with the foil.
  9. Put the lid on the pan and steam the pudding for 5 hours, checking the water level in the saucepan frequently and topping up with hot water to ensure it doesn’t burn dry.
  10. After 5 hours, lift the pudding carefully out of the steamer and remove the string and greaseproof paper cover. Wearing oven gloves, invert a serving dish over the bowl and turn both over together. Give the pudding basin a sharp shake, which should release the pudding, and carefully remove the basin .Serve the Christmas pudding with brandy butter or custard.

What is Stir Up Sunday?

Stir Up Sunday is a tradition dating back to the Victorian era. Prince Albert often declared his love of the pudding, which contributed to it becoming it the Christmas staple it is now. Each member of the family would gather to take their turn stirring the pudding mixture from east to west (whilst making a wish) to represent the wise men's journey in that direction. 

A Christmas pudding traditionally comprises 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his 12 disciples; ours includes a few more and we think they're worth it for the added deliciousness. 

The addition of a small silver coin into the mixture on Stir Up Sunday is believed to bring wealth in the coming year to the person who finds it in their pudding on the day it's served. Other items often added include a small wishbone (to bring good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift) and an anchor (to symbolise safe harbour). 

Do you have any Stir Up Sunday trivia or traditions you'd like to share with us? Let us know using #LeithsChristmas.

Check out our comprehensive Christmas dinner guide to prepare before the big day!

Author: Ailie Bishop

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