The last Sunday before Advent is often referred to as ‘Stir-Up Sunday’, and no it’s not a day for gossip. It is traditionally the day when Christmas puddings should be made in order for them to have enough time to mature before Christmas Day. It’s a day to bring the whole family together, as it’s tradition for every family member to take it in turns to stir the Christmas pudding mixture and make a wish.
As well as the tradition of every family member stirring the Christmas pudding mixture, it’s also tradition for a coin to be added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding – it is said to bring luck and wealth to whoever finds the coin on their plate on Christmas Day (the traditional coin was a silver sixpence). The pudding mixture should also be stirred from East to West in honour of the Three Wise Men, and some puddings are even made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and his Disciples.
There’s sure to be more stirrers than ever this year, following the popularity of The Great British Bake Off – a mere 12.3 million tuned in to the BBC to watch the final, beating the broadcast of the World Cup final! If you’re making a Christmas pudding this Stir-Up Sunday, share your pictures on The Royal Mint’s Twitter and Instagram using #StirUpSunday @RoyalMintUK and we’ll share our favourites – there may even be a little prize for our favourite photo! – Don’t forget to add your own lucky silver sixpence!
So, when is Stir-Up Sunday?
Stir-Up Sunday can fall anytime between November 20th and 26th – this year it is Sunday, 22 November 2015.
And how do you make a Christmas Pudding?
I thought that may be your next question! Here’s a Christmas Pudding recipe courtesy of The Opera Tavern, London.
- 60g/2oz plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 30g/1 oz mixed chopped peel (see if you can get something containing bergamot)
- 30g/1 oz Marcona almonds
- 450g/1 lb dried fruit (dates, prunes, figs and raisins)
- 2 eggs
- 60g/2 oz breadcrumbs
- 120g/4 oz brown sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a little almond milk
- 120g/4 oz grated suet
- 1/2 grated apple
- juice & rind of 1 orange
- juice & rind of 1 lemon
- 1/2 wine glass of sherry
- a good Spanish brandy like Lustau – Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva to light the pudding with on Christmas day.
- and of course, a silver sixpence for luck!
Sift flour, nutmeg, pinch of salt, and mixed spice into a bowl. Mix in the sugar, breadcrumbs, dried fruit, chopped peel, almonds, citrus rind, and nuts. Whisk the eggs and add, together with the sherry, citrus juices, grated apple, suet and a little milk. Add your Royal Mint silver sixpence, mix and make a wish! Cover and leave overnight in a cool place. Put the mixture into a buttered 2 pint basin. Cover securely with baking paper. Steam for 6 hours. To steam the pudding, place a trivet in the bottom of a heavy based pan and place the pudding on top of it. Then add water until half way up the bowl. Place a lid on top of the bowl and simmer very gently topping up with more water if necessary. Cool for 15 minutes. Turn out of basin and leave until it has cooled thoroughly. Wrap in foil and pop into an air tight container. Store in a fridge until Christmas Day. To reheat unwrap and return to the original basin and steam for another 2 hours. Transfer pudding out of basin and put on plate. When you are ready to serve and want to flame it, pour over your brandy and light. Serve with fresh custard infused with a little saffron or simply just some brandy butter.