Traditionally, Christmas pudding is always made on the last Sunday before Advent, which is known as Stir-up Sunday. It was given this name as every member of the family would take a turn at stirring the pudding and make a wish. This year Stir-up Sunday falls on the 25th November so you have got just over a week to gather together everything you need.
The origins of this pudding can be traced back to the 15th century when it was more of a sloppy porridge consistency, made up mostly of meat and dried fruit. I, for one, am glad it has change considerably since then! It developed over time and the Victorians shaped it into the pudding that we are more familiar with today.
The Christmas pudding should be made up of 13 ingredients to represent Jesus Christ and his disciples, and is traditionally stirred from East to West in honour of the wise men who came to visit Jesus in the Nativity story.
Whether you follow these traditions or not, Christmas pudding is really quite simple to make and is a great way of letting children get involved with the preparations. You can adapt the recipe easily to include other fruits, nuts or cherries, different types of alcohol, or make a child-friendly version by using apple juice.
12 glacé cherries, quartered
4 tbsp brandy/rum/apple juice (whatever your favourite tipple is)
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
115g self raising flour
115g shredded vegetable suet
115g dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Juice and finely grated zest 1 lemon
What to do
1. Wash the dried fruit and cherries then place them in the bowl with your chosen alcohol/juice and leave to soak for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
2. Grease a 2 pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin.
3. Add the apple, flour, breadcrumbs, suet, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon and lemon zest and juice to the dried fruit and stir until it is well combined.
4. Lightly beat the eggs then add them to the mixture, stirring them in well.
5. Finally add enough milk to loosen the mixture – you don’t want it to be too runny. Don’t forget to let everyone in the family have a stir and make a wish!
6. Pour the mixture into the greased bowl, cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil, then tie it tightly with string.
7. Place the pudding bowl into a large pan of boiling water, making sure the water comes halfway up the side of the bowl.
8. Cover the saucepan with a lid and steam for 3 hours, making sure the water is topped up every so often – you don’t want it to boil dry!
If you are making your pudding ahead of Christmas Day then you can steam it again, in the same way, for 3 hours on the day.