There’s nothing nicer than a homemade Christmas pudding. And there is nothing more fun than children getting involved in making it. Dating back to Victorian times in Britain, stir-up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before advent (the last Sunday of November). If you have never made a Christmas pudding, why not have a go this year? You’ve got plenty of time between now and Sunday 26th November to gather all your ingredients and gather the children, if you have any, and make a wonderful Christmas pud!
Here’s a classic Christmas recipe to get you started.
- 50g blanched almond
- 2 large Bramley cooking apples
- 200g box candied peel (in large pieces) or all citron if you can find it
- 1 whole nutmeg(you’ll use three quarters of it)
- 1kg raisins
- 140g plain flour
- 100g soft fresh white breadcrumb
- 100g light muscovado sugar, crumbled if it looks lumpy
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tbsp brandyor cognac, plus extra to flame
- 250g packet butter, taken straight from the fridge
For the brandy and ginger butter
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- grated zest of half an orange
- 5 tbsp icing sugar
- 4 tbsp brandyor cognac
- 2 pieces of stem ginger, finely chopped
- Get everything prepared. Chop the almonds coarsely. Peel, core and chop the apples. Sharpen your knife and chop the candied peel. (You can chop the almonds and apples in a food processor, but the peel must be done by hand.) Grate three quarters of the nutmeg (sounds a lot but it’s correct). Mix all the ingredients for the pudding, except the butter, in a large bowl.
- Holding the butter in its wrapper, grate a quarter of it into the bowl, then stir everything together. Repeat until all the butter is grated, then stir for 3-4 minutes – the mixture is ready when it subsides slightly after each stir. Ask the family to stir too, and get everyone to make a wish.
- Generously butter two 1.2 litre/ 2 pint bowls and put a disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each. Pack in the pudding mixture. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, pleating it to allow for expansion, then tie with string (keep the paper in place with a rubber band while tying). Trim off any excess paper.
- Now stand each bowl on a large sheet of foil and bring the edges up over the top, then put another sheet of foil over the top and bring it down underneath to make a double package (this makes the puddings watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan. Watch a video to see how to tie up a pudding correctly.
- Boil or oven steam the puddings for 8 hours, topping up with water as necessary. Remove from the pans and leave to cool overnight. When cold, discard the messy wrappings and re-wrap in spanking new greaseproof or baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.
- To make the brandy butter, cream the butter with the orange zest and sugar. Gradually beat in the brandy or cognac and chopped ginger. Put in a small bowl, fork the top attractively and put in the fridge to set. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
- On Christmas Day, boil or oven steam for 1 hour. Unwrap and turn out. To flame, warm 3-4 tbsp brandy in a small pan, pour it over the pudding and set light to it.
Recipe from Good Food Vegetarian Christmas, December 2006