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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Get ready for Stir-up Sunday

Stir-up Sunday is fast approaching, in fact, it's just a week away!
Stir-up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent so called because the opening words of the Collect for the day (the main prayer) in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 (used in Anglican Churches) says:
"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."
which was used on the last Sunday of the Church year, also because this day is the day upon which the Christmas pudding should be made in order to mature in time for Christmas day. The two have become interlinked over the centuries.

In preparation for Stir-up Sunday I have been researching Christmas pudding recipes and sourcing ingredients and pudding bowls to make my Christmas pudding in. 
There are some long held traditions when it comes to Christmas pudding and as I was brought up by a somewhat superstitious mother, I intend to continue with some of these traditions as I make my own Christmas pudding.
The first is to place a charm or coin of some sort into the pudding before it is cooked. Allowing it to become hidden and subsequently found when being eaten. These coins and charms are said to bring luck to whomever finds it.
A note of warning though, if you do place something into your pudding, please be sure to inform anyone who eats the pudding to prevent them choking on it! If serving to children, I would suggest leaving it out entirely.
I have a Farthing and a half penny to go into mine, in the absence of a Sixpence. 



1 large cooking apple
1/2 tbsp. nutmeg
100g candied peel
500g raisins
70g plain flour
50g fresh white bread crumbs
50g light muscavado sugar
1 tbsp. Brandy
125g butter (cold, from the fridge)
2 small eggs


Peel, core and chop the apple
Chop the candied peel.
Mix with the remainder of the ingredients, except the butter.
Grate half of the butter into the bowl and stir to combine. Repeat this until all of the butter is grated into the mix and combined.
Then, you will need to gather your family around as it's time to stir! A tradition on Stir-up Sunday is to have each member of the household stir the pudding mix three times, seeing the bottom of the bowl each time and making a wish.
The mix is ready (when everyone has had a stir) when the mixture subsides slightly after each stir.
Generously butter a 2 pint pudding bowl and put a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom.
Pour the mix into the bowl and pack in tightly.
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). Cut off any excess paper.
Then place the pudding 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 pudding watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan.
The pudding needs to be boiled for 8 hours, topping up the water when necessary (do not let it boil dry). At the end of the 8 hours, carefully remove the pudding from the pan and allow to cool over night.
The next day, remove all of the foil and greaseproof paper and replace with clean, new greaseproof paper and foil.
The pudding is then ready to be stored in a cool, dry place until Christmas day.
To serve the pudding on Christmas day, re-heat it by boiling it for one hour. Unwrap it carefully and turn out onto a plate or bowl.
If you're feeling adventurous, flame the pudding by pouring 3 tbsp. of warmed brandy over it and setting it alight. Note: be very careful with flames, especially if there are children around!

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