Stir-up Sunday is the annual tradition where home cooks spend the Sunday before Advent ‘stirring up’ their Christmas pudding. It’s a Victorian tradition which brings families together, where each person takes a turn stirring the pudding mix while they make a wish. The pudding should be stirred from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men who came from the east to visit baby Jesus. Although ‘stir-up’ might imply the name is to do with the pudding, it actually comes from the opening words opening wordsof the Book of Common Prayer’s collect for the Sunday before Advent, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.”

It falls on the last Sunday before Advent, which this year is 26th November.

The Christmas pudding we know today is said to have been introduced to Britain by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, but it’s thought a version of the pudding was introduced from Germany by George I (sometimes known as the ‘pudding king’) in 1714.

So, without further ado, here’s our recipe for an indulgent, juicy, fruity Christmas Pudding…

Recipe makes 1, 1.4L pudding

Ingredients:

  • 400g dried fruit roughly chopped (a mixture of currants, sultanas, dried figs, dried apricots, grated apple is great)
  • 50g candied peel
  • 175ml sherry
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp mixed spice
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs (brown bread is best)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 150g suet
  • 50g roughly chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1tbsp treacle (or use golden syrup or honey if you prefer)
  • 150ml stout
  • 75ml milk
Method:
  1. Place the dried fruit and peel in a bowl and soak with the sherry overnight
  2. Mix together sugar, mixed spice, flour, salt and breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl
  3. Stir in orange and lemon zest, suet and chopped almonds
  4. Beat together the egg and treacle, then mix into the dry ingredients with stout and milk (this is when you each take a turn stirring east to west, while making a wish!)
  5. Stir the fruit and sherry into the mix and taste – add more mixed spice or sherry to taste
  6. At this point, add your silver coins or charms if you’re doing that tradition
  7. Thoroughly grease a 1.4L pudding basin and lid, and spoon your mixture in, to no more than 3/4 full
  8. Cut a round of greaseproof paper to fit the top, then cover with a lid, or two pieces of pleated foil
  9. Wrap the entire pudding bowl in foil to ensure it is completely watertight
  10. Steam for 4 hours. You can use a steamer, or a saucepan with a saucer, or the lid of a jar, in the bottom. Make sure to check the water level regularly
  11. Once steamed, leave to cool and store in a cool place until Christmas Day, feeding occasionally with alcohol if you want a boozy pud!

On Christmas Day, steam your pudding for 1.5 hours then turn out onto a serving plate, top with booze and set alight for the wow factor! Serve with a generous dollop of brandy butter.