Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Collect for the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent, Book of Common Prayer)Today is Stir-Up Sunday, the day for stirring up Christmas puddings, an essential part of dinner for Christmas Day here in England. We won't be making ours today, but Star and I will be preparing them next week. Until this year my mother has always made them, but standing for any length of time is too painful as she waits for her hip replacement operation (she now has a date for surgery ... December 18th!), so I have inherited the job along with the family recipe she has always used.
Christmas puddings are normally very rich affairs, laced with quantities of brandy or rum, but our recipe is a lighter, alcohol-free version. It came from Mum's adoptive aunt, who inherited it from her mother. They were Methodists, hence the teetotal pudding. I love Christmas pudding in any shape or form, but often people who dislike other Christmas puds enjoy ours. Here is the recipe ...
8 oz breadcrumbs
8 oz plain flour
8 oz suet (we use the vegetarian version)
8 oz currants
8 oz sultanas
4 oz raisins
a little mixed peel
2 tsp salt
8 oz castor sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
rind and juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 grated apples
2 grated carrots
4 oz glace cherries, quartered
1 or 2 tbsp black treacle (dark molasses?)
a little milk if mixture is stiff
Mix all ingredients together and beat well
Put in greased pudding moulds (should be about two-thirds full)
Cover with greaseproof paper
Steam for 3 to 4 hours.
After steaming remove the greaseproof paper and cover with foil. These puddings are not rich so will only keep for about 6 weeks, though they can be frozen if you want to keep them longer. Steam a second time for at least 3 hours, and serve with any combination of brandy sauce, brandy butter, custard or cream. I need to check just how many puddings this quantity of mixture will make, but I think it would probably be two 2 pound puddings and two 1 pound puddings, or thereabouts.
Note: If anyone in the US is interested in making these, let me know and I can post conversions into cups.