The last Sunday before Advent is the traditional time to make the Christmas pudding. It is often referred to as Stir Up Sunday, a reference which comes from the collect from the Anglican Church's Book of Common Prayer.
"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. " This year Stir Up Sunday falls on November 23rd.
Christmas puddings first appeared as a stiffened form of plum porridge: a meat broth, raisins, wine, fruit juices and spices thickened with brown bread. Mince pies were also a savoury affair being comprised of mutton, chicken and eggs as well as fruit and spices. I add finely ground dried seaweed to spice up to my Christmas fare. The flavours of the different species of seaweed are subtly different. Traditionally a silver coin (sixpence) is added to the pudding and those who are lucky enough to find it on their plate are destined to have good fortune - but anyone who stirs the pudding bowl can sprinkle in some dried seaweed and make a wish.
Create a Stir with this Perfect Recipe:
75g S.R. flour
75g ground Amaretti bicuits
2tsps dried kelp
1tsp mixed spice
150g light brown sugar
25g chopped candied peel
75g grated carrot
Finely grated zest and juice of a small orange
3 large eggs, beaten
Butter for greasing
Put the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix throughly, hands work well.
Put the orange juice, brandy and eggs into a food processor and blend together.
Pour the blended wet ingredients over the dry and mix well. Cover and leave overnight.
Grease a 2 pint (or two smaller) pudding basins and fill them with the mixture. (Not to the top of the basin) because the flour will expand.
Take a large square of greaseproof paper, butter it and then pleat it. Tie it over the top of the pudding basin with string.
Place the pudding in a steamer or in a saucepan on a trivet (a heat proof upturned saucer) and half fill the pan with boiling water. Simmer the pudding for 5-6 hours topping up the water as necessary.
Allow the pudding to cool completely before wrapping it in fresh greaseproof paper and foil.
Steam for a further two hours before serving.