Stir up Sunday-An English Christmas Pudding

By Grab Your Spoon

The clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, it’s as dark when I get up as when I come home from work and my thoughts are turning to the approaching festive season. The scents of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves need to fill the air and bring me comfort.

This weekend it is Stir Up Sunday – the day that traditionally we British like to make our Christmas puddings, to give them a full month to mature and develop those delicious festive flavours.

The name “Stir Up Sunday” refers, somewhat irreverently to the beginning of the Book of Common Prayer’s collect (prayer) said on this day – “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; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen”. This prayer was then adapted by children to the following rhyme: “Stir-up we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot; and when we get home, we’ll eat the whole lot!”

There are all sorts of lovely traditions associated with this recipe. The whole family takes it in turn to stir the pudding and make a wish for the coming year. The mix is traditionally stirred from East to West (clockwise), to represent the journey made by the Three Wise Men. The pudding also traditionally has 13 ingredients – to represent Jesus and his twelve disciples. A coin is placed within the pudding and cooked, the person who finds it on their plate will find wealth in the coming year.

So, to the Christmas Pudding recipe – this is one my family has made for years and is unusual in that it contains NO FAT (yes, really) which of course means you can eat it with plenty of cream!

Antal Christmas Pudding

6oz plain or self-raising flour

6oz fresh breadcrumbs

freshly grated nutmeg

1.5 lbs of mixed dried fruit

(raisins /sultanas/ blueberries/ cranberries/ cherries/ apricots – whatever you like best but a mixture. You can also add a handful of chopped pecans / macadamias/ almonds or hazelnuts)

1 grated carrot

8oz Demerara sugar

2 tbsp marmalade

2 tbsp treacle or golden syrup

grated zest of 1 lemon

2 eggs

1/4 pint milk

2 tbsp lemon juice

brandy or rum to taste

Mix all ingredients together well.

Grease pudding bowl and add mixture. Cover well with a circle of baking parchment and then foil, and secure with string.

Steam immediately for 4 hours.

Cool & store in fridge until needed.

To re-heat, steam for an hour to an hour and a half.

Turn out onto a serving platter and if you want to make an entrance – add a ladle of brandy or rum and flame it! Safer options include using sparklers…

This will make one big pudding (2 pints) or can be divided into two smaller ones and will feed 8-10 people, with seconds…

About Grab Your Spoon: a passionate food-lover who really enjoys cooking, eating and sharing the culinary delights of the world around me. Seasonal, fairly produced and regional ingredients are what interest and inspire me, so grab your spoon and join me!

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