Get Ready for Stir-up Sunday
Love it or hate it, it’s unlikely you’ll make it through the festive season without a run-in with the Christmas pudding.
What started as a simple peasant’s dish has evolved into a treasured tradition that’s a symbol of Christmas here in Britain, and with Stir-up Sunday already here, it’s time for the bright, warm scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus to fill the kitchen once again.
So in honour of the Christmas season, we’ll take a look at the history of Stir-up Sunday, its traditions and share a few of our favourite recipes…
The earliest known versions of the Christmas pud stretch back to the 14th century with a Christmas porridge that incorporating beef, mutton and wine. In 1664 Cromwell banned the ‘lewd, sacrilegious’ custom – it was more than 100 years until George I reintroduced the dish, and by that time it no longer included meat.
The tradition as we know it, though, really began in Victorian times with a line in a prayer – on the last Sunday before advent there’s bible passage that is read out and says “Stir up; we beseech thee, O Lord.”
Chruchgoers began to associate the prayer with a reminder to begin preparing the mincemeat mixture ahead of Christmas and thus, Stir-up Sunday was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Make a wish
Stir-up Sunday is just as much about bringing the family together as it is about making Christmas puddings. It’s an old custom to give each member of the family a turn to stir the mixture and make a wish.
It’s also tradition to drop a coin into the mixture; whoever finds it on Christmas day is promised wealth, health and happiness in the coming year – an incentive that might just tempt even the pickiest eaters around the table to try it!
Christmas puddings are dense, moist and decadent – to make the perfect Christmas pudding you need time for the fruits to absorb the alcohol and let the flavours mature.
The traditional pudding has 13 ingredients – one each for Christ and his 12 apostles – and will take upwards of seven hours to prepare. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts though; the flavours become even richer and on Christmas morning it only needs to be steamed for an hour before it’s ready to serve.
Need a recipe?
Some families have had their recipes handed down through generations. Others prefer to look to the experts for advice. Here’s three of our favourites to get you started:
Will you make your Christmas pudding this weekend on Stir-up Sunday?
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