Missed Stir Up Sunday? Good news – it’s not too late to prep your pudding! We bring you the what, why and how of this festive tradition as well as 5-star recipes and brilliant serving suggestions for your tastiest Christmas pudding ever…
Thought up by those fun-loving Victorians as Christmas pud making day, each family member would join in on Stir Up Sunday and stir the mix from east to west (direction of travel of the three wise men) to bring luck for the coming year.
The mix was then moulded into a ball, wrapped in cloth and boiled. Pudding basins and fancy moulds eventually replaced the boil-in-a-cloth method and continue to this day.
There was a tradition to hide trinkets in the pudding: a silver coin for wealth, a ring for a proposal and a thimble for spinsterhood (geez, tense times at the festive table!). Those that throw caution to the wind may still pop a coin in the pud, so tuck in with care.
Pudding tips and tricks
Tradition says to stir up your pud on the fifth Sunday before Christmas, but taste tests show you can make your masterpiece right up to the last minute so don’t panic!
While recipes vary, Christmas pudding is basically a glorious mix of dried fruits, candied peel, suet, spices and a good glug of brandy. Spooned into a pudding basin and steamed for hours, it’s then stashed in a dark cupboard to mature until the big day.
Steeping the dried fruit in sherry or another suitable tipple overnight before making day will add extra flavour and the longer you cook the pud for the darker and richer it’ll be. Adding a splash of booze each week in the run up to Christmas will help keep it moist.
There are options for re-heating your pudding on Christmas Day. Whether you steam, oven or microwave, take a look at this handy guide. It also walks you through setting it on fire. Nice.
And to serve
The classic pairing for Christmas pudding is brandy butter or brandy cream, both of which can be made in advance and stored. Otherwise, think custard, try this special spiced one or a dollop of vanilla or honeycomb ice cream.
If you want to change things up, try drizzling with this cranberry toffee sauce (the magnificent chocolate and panettone laced pud is also worth a go). Or sprinkle with caramelized nuts and pour over Irish cream.
Keep the pudding fun alive after Christmas lunch with these brilliant leftover ideas. Fry in brandy butter and either serve with extra helpings of your favourite ice cream or (this one is a little out there) include with your morning fry up. Apparently it works well with sausages.
We’re loving Jamie’s suggestion of serving with a slice of Lancashire cheese – genius. Or why not turn it into a Boxing Day showstopper like this Christmas pudding trifle or a festive chocolate fondue?
Line up your ingredients, throw on some festive tunes and get stirring. We’d say it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…