Monday, July 23The Voice of London

Stir Up Sunday: How To Make The Perfect Christmas Pudding

Plenty of Christmas traditions have been lost over recent years. Everything we could possibly need for this festive occasion is readily available in supermarkets, so certain traditions are no longer necessary. Stir Up Sunday being one of them. So what is this lost tradition and how does it relate to Christmas pudding?

Words: Toni Hart, Subeditor: Denisa Rosca

Photo Source: Toni Hart

Traditionally, four Sundays before Christmas marks the start of advent for many Western Christian churches. The Sunday before this is known as Stir Up Sunday and is the day the Christmas pudding is made. This year Stir Up Sunday falls on the 22nd of November so we thought we would give you our best Christmas pudding recipe to try for yourself.

Plenty of supermarkets offer a variety of different flavoured Christmas puddings and some of them are quite nice. Note the emphasis on ‘some’, there are more than a few that are just inedible. Although there is a varied choice when it comes to choosing your Christmas pudding, nothing quite beats making your own. You can adjust the amount of alcohol you add to your pudding according to how drunk you intend to get on Christmas Day. Or make it completely alcohol free, that’s the beauty of making your own.

So follow our recipe below for a foolproof, lightweight, sticky Christmas pudding.


Christmas pudding ready for Christmas Day
Christmas pudding ready for Christmas Day

Ingredients you will need:

  • 110g of shredded suet
  • 50g of sifted self-raising flour
  • 110g of white breadcrumbs
  • 1 level teaspoon of ground mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 good pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 225g of soft dark brown sugar
  • 110g of sultanas
  • 110g of raisins
  • 275g of currants
  • 25g of finely chopped mixed candied peel
  • 25g of almonds – skinned and chopped
  • 1 small cooking apple – peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • The grated zest of 1/2 a large orange
  • The grated zest of 1/2 a large lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 75ml of barley wine
  • 75ml of stout
  • 2 tablespoons of rum

You will need a 1.2 litre pudding basin, lightly greased

Christmas pudding being steamed
Christmas pudding being steamed

Get Stirring!

Note: Making a Christmas pudding takes two days to prepare. It is recommended you make your pudding around Stir Up Sunday to leave enough time for the mixture to settle.

Another note: It is tradition when making Christmas pudding to have everyone in the family stir the mix before steaming and make a wish

So! Step 1. Take a large mixing bowl and put in the suet, sifted flour, breadcrumbs, spices and sugar

Step 2. Mix these ingredients together and gradually add the dried fruit, mixed peel, nuts, apple, and grated orange and lemon zests

Step 3. Using a smaller mixing bowl, measure out the rum, barley wine, stout and eggs. Beat thoroughly together

Step 4. Pour the liquid mix over the dry ingredients and begin to mix thoroughly. Go back through the list of ingredients and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything – there’s no  going back now

Step 5. Gather the family to stir and make a wish!

The mixture should now be sloppy, but not a mess. It should fall from the spoon when tapped against the side of a bowl. Add a bit more alcohol if you need to, and as tempting as it may be – try to not get carried away

Step 6. Leave the mixture covered overnight. The next day, pack the mixture into your basin and cover with a double sheet of greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil

Step 7. Borrow someone’s finger and tie the foil and paper in place securely with a piece of string. Tie a second piece of string across the top of the bowl to make a handle. This will help later on when taking the basin out of the pan

Step 8. Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water. Steam the pudding for 8 hours

Step 9. Make sure the water doesn’t run out and top up with water from the kettle when necessary

Step 10. After 8 hours, let the pudding get quite cold before removing the papers and foil

Step 11. Put a fresh double sheet of greaseproof paper and foil over the basin and tie more string around it

Step 12. So your Christmas pudding is now ready! keep it in a cool place away from light

On Christmas Day you will need to fill a pan with boiling water. Put a steamer on top of the saucepan and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Place the Christmas pudding in the steamer, cover, and leave for 2 hours and 15 minutes to steam. Remember to keep checking the water as you go and top up when necessary.

So that is our tried and tested recipe for making the perfect Christmas pudding. And don’t forget to make your wish!

You can get the full recipe in the book ‘Delia Smith’s Christmas‘.