Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stirred, not Shaken

Stir-up Sunday, the last before Advent, and we're all stirred up.

This year it's Delia's Christmas pudding recipe. Traditionally there are supposed to be thirteen ingredients to represent Jesus and the twelve Apostles, but Delia's recipe comes in at nineteen, and by the time we'd missed out a couple of ingredients and used mixed fruit instead of some of the separate dried fruits, we counted sixteen in ours.

We all had a stir and a wish. There was some geographical debate - you're supposed to stir East to West (the direction in which the Wise Men travelled). Is North where the top of the bowl is, or should the bowl be orientated so that it's pointing North? And when you're standing in our kitchen where is North anyway?

And I found it necessary to keep topping up my glass of Guinness (a vital Christmas pudding ingredient), through the pudding making process, purely in the interests of preventing food waste you understand...

The Collect for the 25th Sunday after Trinity, gives Stir-up Sunday its name and served as a reminder to church goers to get the pudding ready so it had time to mature before Christmas.

'Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord,
the wills of thy faithful people, that they plenteously bringing forth
the fruit of good works,
may be of thee plenteously rewarded.'

Delia's Traditional Christmas Pudding

40z/110g shredded suet
2 oz/50g self-raising flour
4 oz/110g white bread crumbs
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cinnamon
8oz/225g dark brown sugar
4 oz/110g sultanas
4 oz/110g raisins
10oz/275g currants
1 oz mixed candied peel
1 oz/ 25g almonds, skinned and chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
grated zest 1/2 orange
grated zest 1/2 lemon
2 eggs
2 1/2 fluid oz/75 ml barley wine
2 1/2 fluid oz/ 75 ml stout
2 tablespoons rum

Mix the dry ingredients. Add the rum, wine, stout and beaten eggs. Leave overnight. Pack in a pudding basin and wrap with two layers greaseproof paper and a layer of foil. Steam for 8 hours. Re-wrap with fresh paper and foil. On Christmas day, steam the pudding again for a couple of hours.


  1. Very interesting tradition. I've heard about Christmas puddings. Thanks for giving me some context about it.

  2. I didn't know about the number of ingredients nor the direction of stirring. I never bother with the barley wine. I don't reckon it makes a huge difference to the finished pud. I will think of you as I wipe the steam of my windows later today -I've got loads of post-weekend washing to get dry too.

    1. I didn't bother with barley wine either. Don't even know where I'd get it. Finally have a 8 hour stretch at a reasonable time tomorrow to steam my puds, so I'll think of you too. Hoping my washing will be outside on the line by then!

  3. What a coincidence, I spoke to my mum today and she was making our Christmas pudding. But I think that was more to do with the fact she had enough time to steam it rather than tradition :) Thanks for all of the info about traditions, I'd never heard of them before.

    1. Yes, the steaming time is considerable! I didn't know all the traditions until I researched it this year...the benefit of blogging!

  4. I love the historical information on the Christmas pudding rituals. I make a plum pudding, but don't steam it until a week before Christmas. I wonder if it would be improved by making it now? Where do you store your pudding until Christmas? In the refrigerator?

    1. From a quick google search, a plum pudding looks similar to a Christmas pudding to me, so if yours is the same, I'd get it going now and store in a cool dry place! One less thing to do the week before Christmas. But on the other hand, I'd hate to be responsible for spoiling your Christmas if it didn't work out...

    2. And in answer to your question, I store mine in a kitchen cupboard.