Stir up Sunday

A Christmas pudding surrounded by brandy-induced flames.  Wikimedia Commons.
A Christmas pudding surrounded by brandy-induced flames. Wikimedia Commons.

I hope you made your Christmas pudding today, the last Sunday before Advent.  It’s more or less obligatory.

Once upon a time, if you were a good housewife of the parish, you’d have been kneeling at your pew in church as the vicar intoned the words of the Collect for the day:

‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…..’

‘Stir up?  Stir up?  Oh, goodness me, I haven’t made my Christmas pudding’.  And church service over, our good housewife would scuttle home and make it.  She’d assemble dried fruits, suet, flour, rich dark muscovado sugar, cinnamon, cloves, eggs,  a bottle of barley wine or some other hooch, grate an apple and some lemon zest .  Then she’d tip all the ingredients into a bowl, and gather all her family around to stir the pudding too, and make a wish as they did so.  Then she’d spoon the lot into a pudding basin, firmly tie a greaseproof paper lid over it, and steam it for 5 hours or so.

On Christmas day, she’d steam it again.  She’d heat brandy, pour it over her pudding,  then set the alcohol alight  and bring it, flaming bright,  to table with a jugful of sherry sauce for all the family to enjoy.  We’ll be doing that too.

Stirring the pudding mixture and making a wish.
Stirring the pudding mixture and making a wish.

Today I went walking as usual with Ripon Ramblers, and told them I’d be making my pud later on.  They thought I was frankly bonkers.  Everyone, it seems,  plans to buy their puddings.  I don’t care.  We’ve had fun measuring, mixing, stirring and wishing.  The pudding is steaming as I type.  This is the recipe I chose this year.  The kitchen’s smelling pretty good at the moment.

Three Christmas puddings, waiting to be steamed.
Three Christmas puddings, waiting to be steamed.

21 thoughts on “Stir up Sunday”

  1. I have never had Christmas pudding, I might it try it this year. Our one store carries imports from Europe and usually have the Christmas pudding, although I am sure store bought will not be as good as homemade.

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    1. Well, you just have time to make one and have it mature. Half quantities would be plenty. You’ll have noticed it’s rather sustaining. Silly to want it as the end of such a big Christmas meal… but somehow, one does.

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  2. I love these food traditions around holidays and love that you are such a “good housewife” to make it yourself! I’ve never had this kind of pudding and I’m such a silly, picky eater that I don’t know if I’d like it but I know I’d like the meaning behind it!

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  3. Not at all bonkers. I’ve not done mine yet (11 days in hospital and subsequent convalescence is upsetting my plans) but I also make cake, mincemeat and pies.

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  4. I agree – there is nothing like making it yourself. Interesting recipe – thank you for linking it, I might give it a whirl. I’ve never had a Christmas pudding. have a wonderful day, wonderful week. Thank you.

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  5. It’s about the only preparations we’ve done for Christmas so far! Andrew makes the pudding – a year in advance so this one is for next year. I’ve done the cake and it’s absorbing more and more brandy 🙂

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