Cookery Book Author, Culinary Historian and Independent Food Consultant and Trainer in Anglo-Indian Cuisine

December 5, 2023


CHRISTMAS PUDDING ON STIR UP SUNDAY Christmas Puddings were traditionally always made on Stir-up Sunday which is the last Sunday […]

Christmas Puddings were traditionally always made on Stir-up Sunday which is the last Sunday before Advent begins. In the olden days it was the day when traditionally families gather together to prepare the Christmas pudding or mix the fruit for the Christmas Cakes.
The day does not actually get its name from ‘stirring the pudding’: It gets its name from the Book of Common Prayer. The Collect of the Day for the last Sunday before Advent starts, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”. However since Victorian times it has become associated with the rather lovely family custom of preparing for Christmas together by making the Christmas pudding, an essential part of most Christmas dinners.
The Christmas Pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients representing Jesus Christ and his 12 Disciples. The Christmas pudding is stirred from East to West in honor of the 3 wise men who came from the east to visit the Savior child
Every member of the family gives the pudding a stir and makes a wish. A coin, a ring or a thimble are sometime added to the pudding mixture. The coin and thimble supposedly brings luck and wealth to the person who gets it in his / her piece of the pudding on Christmas day, and the finger ring would foretell a wedding to the person who gets it.
Likewise, there is a Cake mixing or stirring Day as well. It is nothing but the day on which families gather together around the dining table, to chop and mix the fruit and nuts with lots of wine and liquor for the traditional Christmas cake. This practice actually started in the 17th Century in Europe, marking the arrival of the harvest season, during which lots of fresh fruits and nuts were harvested and used in the making of traditional Christmas cake.
However, the age-old tradition of using fresh fruits has now been replaced with lots of dry fruits, such as raisins, black currants, etc., nuts, and spices are combined together to form a mixture, which is then soaked in alcoholic blends for a few weeks. This is to let the mixture soak in all the alcohol and liquor. The soaked fruit is then added to the cake batter and baked into delicious Cakes.
This tradition of Fruit Mixing or Stirring, used to be an intimate family affair in the olden days. Now a days, Cake Mixing or Mixing of the Fruit has become a gala social event with the who’s who being invited to Big Hotels to take part in the ceremony as a happy get together to welcome the festive season and bring in the festive spirit that is so synonymous with Christmas.
So get your ingredients ready and everyone join in to stir up the Christmas Pudding .
200 grams fresh breadcrumbs
200 grams butter
2 teaspoons instant coffee (Nescafe or Bru)
2 teaspoons golden or date syrup
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs beaten well
¼ cup rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
100 grams raisins
100 grams chopped sultanas.
100 grams mixed peel
½ teaspoon salt
100 grams sugar
Cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs and mix well.
Gradually add all the other ingredients and mix well.
Grease a Pudding Mould or any suitable bowl with butter and pour the pudding mixture into it.
Steam the pudding for about 1 hour on low heat till it is firm to touch
Note: This pudding can be made in advance and refrigerated till required. Steam for 10 minute or microwave for 3 minutes before serving.
For a more exotic taste, when still warm make a few small holes all over the pudding and pour about 6 tablespoons of rum over it.

Article written by Bridget White-Kumar
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