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We'd all like some figgy pudding; It may still only be November but now is the time to get mixing for the big day.

WITH Christmas fast approaching, it's time for Stir-Up Sunday. Harking back to Victorian times, this special day occurs on the final Sunday before Advent, this year November 26.

Traditionally, Stir-Up Sunday sees the stirring and steaming of Christmas puddings, when all the family can take turns to stir the mixture and make a wish.

The smell of fruit and spice really makes it feel like the festive season has begun.

So get your suet, dried fruits and alcohol at the ready and get Christmas cracking...

INGREDIENTS (FOR A THREE-PINT PUDDING) 175g self-raising flour 175g wholemeal breadcrumbs. 175g vegetable suet 400g mixed fruit 150g finely chopped dates and prunes 50g natural cherries 3 large eggs.

225g Billington's molasses sugar 5tbsp dark rum (not any flavoured or spiced variety as this will ruin the pud. You can use brandy as an alternative or orange juice for an alcohol-free version) 11/2 heaped tsp of mixed spice 1tbsp cocoa powder METHOD 1. 24/48 hours before cooking, place the fruit in a bowl and pour the rum, brandy or orange juice over it.

Cover with clingfilm and leave in a cool place, occasionally tossing to ensure all the fruit is nicely covered.

2. When the fruit is soaked to your liking, it's time to add the rest of the ingredients.

Cream together the eggs and sugar. Mix the flour, breadcrumbs and suet with the spice and cocoa power.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the sugar/egg mix, stirring all the while. Continue stirring until all is well mixed.

Then add the fruit and any juice in the bowl and mix well.

3. Take a pudding basin, preferably with a snap-on lid. Make a disc of greaseproof paper to fit into the base (this will help the pudding release from the basin).

Pour all the mixture into the bowl and cover with another disc of greaseproof paper.

4. Put the bowl in a steamer or in a large pan on a small rack so the bowl is not directly in contact with the base.

Bring to the boil and steam for eight hours, occasionally checking to see that the water has not evaporated.

Leave to cool and store in a cool place until Christmas.

TWO WEEKS TO GO AROUND a fortnight before the big day add a tablespoon of rum (spearing the pudding in several places with a skewer will help the rum soak into the middle).

ON CHRISTMAS DAY STEAM for a further two hours and serve with white rum sauce or rum butter.

If you have used brandy to soak your pudding use brandy butter sauce.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Nov 25, 2017
Words:438
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