Published: 10:58, 18 November 2020
| Updated: 11:00, 18 November 2020
If Christmas is all about tradition for you, then you’ll know this weekend’s Stir Up Sunday means it’s time to make your Christmas pud.
If you like to feel organised; embrace togetherness and enjoy tradition, it’s a perfect celebration for you.
Stir Up Sunday always falls on the last Sunday before advent, which this year is Sunday, November 22.
The day’s origins date back to Victorian times, when families would come together to get their fruit puddings stirred up, steamed and stored ahead of Christmas. Each member of the family would take a turn to give all the ingredients a good mix.
Christmas puddings can be made weeks in advance, which is handy in the run-up to Christmas when things can get a bit hectic, and Stir Up Sunday is also a useful reminder to start properly prepping - including getting your advent calendars sorted.
Once you’ve made your pud, store it in a cool place away from the light. Keep the pudding topped up with a splash of booze every week to keep it moist.
DID YOU KNOW?
Setting light to your Christmas pudding is said by some to represent the passion of Christ. When you light a pudding, it’s traditional to use brandy but other alcohol can also work. You’re not actually lighting the pudding, but the vapour from heating it up.
It is still common for people to hide small silver coins in the mixture. Traditionally it would have been a sixpence but whatever coin it is today, when the pudding is served on Christmas Day, anyone with a coin in their portion will feel lucky - and is said to have good luck for the coming year.
If you want to add coins to your pudding, make sure they are properly sterilised - and warn anyone tucking in!
Here's how to make a classic Christmas pud...
Ingredients: 150g raisins; 150g sultanas; 100g prunes, stoned and finely chopped; 25g chopped mixed peel; 100ml apple juice; 50ml brandy (optional) or use 50ml extra apple juice; butter, to grease; two eating apples, about 150g, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes; 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon; 1 tsp. mixed spice; 125g dark brown soft sugar; 50g plain flour; 50g fresh white breadcrumbs; 1 large egg, beaten; 25g vegetarian suet.
Put the dried fruit, mixed peel, apple juice and brandy (if using) into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir, then cover and leave at room temperature overnight to soak.
Lightly grease a 900ml pudding basin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Put a 35.5cm square of foil on top of a square of baking parchment of the same size. Fold a 4cm pleat across the centre and set aside.
Add remaining ingredients to the soaked fruit, stirring well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared basin, pushing down to pack the mixture in and level the surface. Put the pleated foil and parchment square (foil-side up) on top of the basin and smooth down to cover. Using a long piece of string, tie securely under the lip of the basin and loop over again and tie to make a handle.
To cook, put a heatproof saucer in the base of a large, deep pan (which has a tight-fitting lid). Lower in the prepared pudding and pour in enough water (trying not to get any on top of the pudding) to come halfway up sides of basin. Cover the pan with the lid, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for four and a half hours, topping up the water as necessary.
If serving immediately, carefully lift it out of the pan by the handle and leave to stand for a few minutes. Remove the lid, invert the pudding on to a plate, peel off the baking parchment disk and serve.
If you are making ahead, leave the pudding to cool completely (out of pan). When cool, wrap the basin, still with its foil lid, tightly in cling film and then another layer of foil. Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months.
To reheat your pudding on the hob:
Remove the top layer of foil, the cling film and pleated lid. Re-cover the top of the basin with a baking parchment and foil lid as before. Using the instructions in step 4, re-heat for 2hrs. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then remove lid, invert pudding on to a plate and peel off the baking parchment disk. And serve.
To reheat your pudding in the microwave:
Remove the top layer of foil, the clingfilm and pleated lid. Re-cover top of the basin with a baking parchment lid (do not use foil). Reheat at medium power (based on an 8OOW microwave) for four minutes. Allow to stand for 1min, then cook again for 4min; leave to stand for a minute, then remove lid, invert pudding on to a plate and peel off baking parchment disc. Serve.