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The last Sunday before advent begins is traditionally known as ‘stir up Sunday’. This is when families would get together and make the mixture for their Christmas pudding, all taking it in turns to stir the pot and making a wish for the year ahead. Although these days it may be quick and easy to buy Christmas pudding from the supermarket, you really can’t beat a homemade version. Traditionally a coin was added to the mixture before cooking to bring wealth to whoever found it on Christmas Day.
Combine the suet, breadcrumbs, flour, sugar, fruit and spices in a bowl and mix
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until fully combined
Butter the pudding bowl and fill with the mixture, then cover with baking paper
Place the pudding bowl into a large pan and pour boiling water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the bowl. Cover with a lid
Steam the pudding for 4 hours, making sure the pan does not boil dry. Test if the pudding is cooked by inserting a skewer through the middle, if it comes out clean it is cooked, if not steam for a little longer
Leave to cool, then cover with fresh baking paper and wrap tightly in clingfilm. Store in a cool dark place for up to 6 weeks
When ready to serve, steam for a further 2 hours
Although traditionally made with brandy, the alcohol can be substituted for rum, stout or Vin Santo, depending on your personal preference.
You could try substituting some of the raisins, currants and sultanas for other dried fruits such as cherries, figs or crystallised ginger.
The most obvious thing to serve with Christmas pudding is clearly brandy butter – try Dominic Chapman’s Christmas pudding with brandy butter– while Shaun Rankin turns Christmas pudding into an indulgent ice cream to serve with a decadent dark chocolate soufflé.
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