Today is "stir-up" Sunday, the Sunday before the beginning of advent that marks the time when Christmas pudding is traditionally made, giving it four weeks to mature before eating on Christmas day.
Next weekend 20 of us are getting together for "The Great PhD Pudding Stir-Up" when we shall eat mince pies, drink mulled wine and all make puddings together - tipsy baking, now there's a good Sunday pastime! However, I couldn't resist making my very own pudding on the correct day, especially as I've never done it before!
So last night I put the dried fruit in a bowl and covered it in brandy, then this morning I got all the ingredients together and stirred it up.I also made sure that we both had a stir and made a wish.
I steamed the pudding for three and a half hours, and now it's cooling ready to wrap and put in the cupboard. It smelt good, so hopefully it won't let us down on the day.
I adapted the recipe from Nigel Slater, taking out the figs and apricots (I unfortunately didn't have any and what with the rain and the snow there was no way I was leaving the house), instead I used slightly more sultanas and currents and added cranberries. I also used maraschino cherries, because I like the slightly softer texture.
The recipe makes one pint sized pudding:
21g candied peel
12g glace cherries
1/2 apple, grated
juice and zest of 1 clementine
1 egg, beaten
42g vegetarian suet
59g muscovado sugar
30g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Place all the fruit in a bowl and add the brandy, leave overnight, stirring at the beginning and end to make sure the fruit is coated.
In a large bowl mix together the apple, suet, breadcrumbs, zest and juice of the clementine, sugar, and flour and mix. Then add the beaten egg, mix again. Then add the soaked fruit, making sure to scrape in any excess liquid from the bowl. Add the spices and stir together.
To do it traditionally you need to give everyone a stir, youngest to oldest, each getting a wish as they stir, and apparently the stirring has to be done east to west.
When everyone's had a go, put the mixture into a greased pudding basin and place a circle of parchment (with a fold in the middle) over the top, then add the lid. Steam for three and a half hours. Then allow to cool, remove the parchment and replace with clingfilm. Then store in a cold dry place until Christmas.
On Christmas Day: Either steam for another 3 and a half hours, or microwave for 3-4 minutes (upturned on a plate) and then place on a plate, pour over warmed brandy and light! Enjoy the blue festive flame before tucking in with lashings of brandy butter and/or cream!