Christmas is fast approaching and if you are anything like us and like to keep the tradition of making your own homemade pudding, you’ll have Stir-up Sunday marked on your calendar.
This is the day keen cooks all over the country whip up the traditional Christmas pudding and families gather together in the kitchen to offer their own little contribution.
Wishes are said to come true, so get ahead on your Christmas baking, discover the traditions behind and take some inspiration from our mouthwatering recipe.
What is Stir-up Sunday?
Whilst it is easy to believe that the name comes from ‘stirring the pudding’, the actual meaning has ties to religious roots back to the 16th Century.
We might be surprised to hear that Stir-up Sunday gets its name from the Book of Common Prayer. On the last Sunday before advent, the Collect of the Day reads:
“Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”.
This famous quote eventually became a subtle reminder to make your Christmas Pudding in time and get ahead with your festive preparations.
When is Stir-up Sunday?
Stir-up Sunday doesn’t fall on the same date every year so you will need to keep an eye out for it. The date is always observed five weeks before Christmas, on the last Sunday before advent, which falls somewhere at the end of November
Wondering about this year’s? Stir-up Sunday 2022 falls on the 20th.
The Tradition of Stir-up Sunday
Since Victorian times, Stir-up Sunday has been associated with the very British custom of preparing a pudding for Christmas Day.
It was believed that the pudding was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, however, it’s most likely that the Christmas pudding, as we know it today, was actually introduced by George I from Germany.
Did you know that the original Christmas pudding had actual minced meat in it?
Back in the Middle Ages, a porridge called 'frumenty’ was consumed in the festive period. The original recipe contained a mixture of meat, dried fruit, spices and wine. And gradually over time, the recipe has evolved into what we know it as today.
A lot of tradition goes into making the Christmas pudding, where families gather together to mix the pudding and make special memories.
On Stir-up Sunday, each member of the family takes a turn in stirring the mixture whilst making a wish. Beware! This is only said to work as long as you stir from east to west, in order to pay a tribute to the Wise Men, who travelled from the east to visit the baby Jesus.
Some families still place a charm or a coin in the middle of their Christmas pudding, which is said to bring good luck and prosperity to anyone who finds it in their slice on Christmas Day.
What is Made on Stir up Sunday?
The pudding is cooked well in advance on Stir-up Sunday, then left to mature for five weeks until it’s reheated again on Christmas Day.
While the recipes do differ according to household, the traditional combination contains 13 ingredients, to represent Jesus and his disciples.
Most recipes contain a mixture of eggs, breadcrumbs and dried fruit. Prunes, dates and candied peel are soaked in brandy and mixed together with sweet flavourings such as black treacle, golden syrup and a blend of spices.
The result is a luxurious fruity sponge, with a beautiful dark colour and a decadently boozy taste.
Our Christmas Pudding Recipe
This is one of the easiest Christmas pudding recipes. In fact, the actual mixing part takes very little effort. However, ensure you allow plenty of time to cook, as soaking and steaming the pudding takes up to 4 hours!
All you need to do is measure the ingredients in the Taylor Pro Waterproof Digital Dual 14Kg Scale, which allows you to weigh different ingredients without the need to press any buttons, avoiding a sticky or greasy mess on the glass surface.
Then mix them up all together in the Home Made Traditional Stoneware 29cm Mixing Bowl, which is the perfect size for the pudding ingredients, and also features a lipped rim for securing the muslin.
Finally, cook the pudding in the award-winning MasterClass Non-Stick 2 Litre Pudding Steamer for 4 hours. Don’t feel intimidated by that, as It’s really easy to use and takes all the hassle out of steaming.
75g dried mixed fruits: prunes, figs, apricots and cranberries
3 tsp Dark Rum
2 tbsp orange peel (homemade or shop-bought and soaked in boiling water)
20g butter to grease
75g vegetable suet
100g brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
60g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon, ginger, and mixed spice
1 large free-range egg
-Place all the dried fruit into a large bowl and pour over the Guinness and rum, cover and leave to soak overnight or you can microwave for a couple of minutes to help warm up the juice and soak into the fruit.
-Rub a little butter around the pudding steamer.
-Add the suet, golden syrup, sugar and flour to the dried fruit.
-Measure out the spices and add to the bowl along with the egg and breadcrumbs.
-Stir up and transfer into the buttered steaming tin.
-Put a plate in the bottom of a large pan, then cover your pudding with foil and secure with string.
-Add the pudding to the pan and fill the pan half full of water.
-Cook on a gentle boil for 4 hours, topping up the water whenever necessary.
-When cooked, leave to cool.
-Place the pudding in a dark cupboard until the big day.
On Christmas Day, pour a little brandy over the pudding and light it with care. Then, carry the pudding to the table triumphantly, while still glowing.
Serve to guests with vanilla custard, double cream or a fancy brandy butter…and enjoy!