Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stirring up a fantastic pud











Today is the last Sunday before Advent and yes that means it's Stir Up Sunday, traditionally the time to make your Christmas puddings. With a month to go to the big day there's plenty of time for the fruit (and booze) in the pudding to mellow and mature giving you a delicious result.

It is customary for each member of the family to stir the mixture whilst making a wish, you are supposed to go from East to West to honour the Three Wise Men.

Here is a lovely recipe which will make two good-sized puddings that serve 6 - 8 people. Don't forget the sixpence!

Dormouse Christmas Pud

What you need

Fruit:
340g sultanas
340g raisins
225g currants
110g candied peel, chopped

Other Ingredients:
225g golden caster sugar
225g vegetarian suet
110g plain flour
110g white breadcrumbs
55g flaked almonds (optional - if you leave these out just add a little more fruit)
1 lemon, zest only
5 medium sized free range eggs, beaten
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp mixed spice
5g/1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
150ml brandy or rum

How to make the pudding

The night before

Soak the sultanas and raisins in strong cold tea overnight. This really plumps up the fruit and gives the pudding a great richness. Just cover the fruit with cold tea and then put a tea towel over the bowl and leave it for 12 to 24 hours in a cool dry place.

On Stir Up Sunday

  1. If you soaked the fruit in tea overnight now is the time to drain it. Tipthe fruit into a colander and leave it to drain for 30 minutes while you weigh out the other ingredients.
  2. Grease 2×1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding basins with a little butter.
  3. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in the eggs and brandy and mix well. The mixture should now be rich and sticky; if it seems wet and runny mix in a little more plain flour
  5. Spoon the mix into basins. Put a circle of greaseproof paper and foil over the top of each basin and tie securely with string. Make a string handle from one side of the basin to the other so it is easier to pick the basin out of the pan after cooking.
  6. Put the basin in a large pan on an inverted saucer on the base. Pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls. Cover and steam for 6 to 7 hours.
  7. Allow the puddings to cool down overnight.
  8. The next morning store the puddings in a cool cupboard until Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day
  1. You need to repeat the above cooking process for at least two hours.
  2. When you are about to start serving the main course take the pudding off the heat and let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Serve with Rum Sauce, Brandy Butter, custard, cream or ice cream