So it’s Stir Up Sunday here in the UK. That means that it is the last Sunday before advent starts, and all the craziness that goes with it. A perfect time then (especially looking out of the window today) to steam up the windows and fill the kitchen with some gorgeous christmassy smells. Just don’t put on the Christmas music though- that’s bad luck until December the 1st! Tradition dictates that once all of the ingredients are in the bowl, every child in the house should have a stir (hence the name stir up Sunday) and make a wish. I have lovely memories of doing this as a child, mostly wishing for some Christmas tat I think, or a horse. The magic of it is something that makes making the pudding worthwhile; traditional recipes often leave you with a lot of leftovers- the pudding is geared more towards the Victorian tastes, when you did not have puddings on a regular basis. This one was meant to be the one to crown them all, decadently crammed full of expensive ingredients; dried fruits, brandy and suet.
This year I’ve mixed it up a bit though, mostly because none of my children really enjoy the mixed peel/ currant combination, and my husband won’t eat raisins in anything, and I think I’ve come up with a winning formula. Give it a go and let me know what you think. You’ll have to leave it a few weeks though, you can’t eat Christmas pudding until you’ve cooked it (for hours) and then left it to mature for a good few weeks.
Alternative Christmas Pudding Recipe
25g dried cranberries
225g dried figs
225 dried dates
4 tbsp whiskey
zest and juice of one lemon and one orange
Start the night before and chop your fruit, then leave to soak in the whisky and orange and lemon juice and zest.
The next morning mix together thoroughly:
110g fresh breadcrumbs
110g soft, dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice or German lebkuchen spice
2 tsp cinnamon
55g self raising flour (or add half a tsp of baking powder to 55g plain flour)
110g suet/butter grated
50g chopped pecans
When they are thoroughly mixed, stir through the dried fruit, and beat together 2 large eggs.
Pour the eggs into the mixture, then call down everyone in the house to come and stir it up and make their wish.
Butter a 1.7 litre pudding basin, and line the bottom section with a few pecan halves, and a few slices of orange. Pour the mixture into the prepared basin, then cover with a double layer of baking paper (remembering the all important pleat) then with a double layer of foil.
Tie up securely with string, then place in a pan of simmering water for between 6 to 7 hours. Make sure that the pan does not boil dry! Keep topping up as necessary.
When it is cooked, allow to cool completely, then remove the paper and prick a few holes in the pudding and sprinkle over a tablespoon or so of whisky, then recover with greaseproof and leave to mature until Christmas.
When the time comes, the pudding needs to be wrapped as before and reheated in the same way you cooked it for around 2 hours.
To serve, pour some warmed alcohol over it (usually brandy, but in this case I’ll be using whisky) and serve with cream, or brandy butter, and wait to see if your wish came true.