Saturday, November 24, 2012

Steampunk on Stir-Up Sunday.

How do I like my puddings?


Stir -up Sunday is the day 
for making Christmas pudding.

'Pudding', I hear you say?
Christmas Pudding.
Plum Pudding
Plumb Pudding
Plum Duff

(It doesn't contain any plums, of course,
just as shepherd's pie 
doesn't contain any real shepherds
and toad-in-the-hole
is amphibian-free)

Image from Miss Mary.
If you're British,
or thereabouts,
you'll know about Christmas pudding.

If not, read on.

 Christmas pudding
is a steamed dessert
full of dried fruit and alcohol.
It is ancient and venerable part 
of our culinary history.

Political Cartoon, featuring a plum pudding as the world.

No one actually makes these in the UK
They buy them, all ready to cook
and they nuke them in the microwave for 
2 minutes.
(Or steam them for four hours.
 It depends on their learning curve)

Then, they bring them in great ceremony
to the Christmas table,
set fire to them
and sing to them while they burn.

You think I'm making this up?

Keep yer hands off, sonny!

Stir-Up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent
because of the collect in the Book of Common Prayer
for that day.

'Stir up, we beseech thee, 
O Lord,
the wills of thy faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit
of good works
may of Thee be plenteously rewarded...'

You see the references to 'stir-up' and to 'fruit', right?

For the first few years of living in the USA, 
I pleaded with people to send me puddings, 
or I'd buy them and hoard them in visits to 
Old Blighty.

But now I'm a big girl, and I boil my own.
You can, too.

The problem with most recipes
 is that they make two puddings.
Just halve the amounts 
and roll up the sleeves 
and get to it.

Make a Wish
When the pudding mix is made
and before you pile it into the pudding dish
 to be steamed
everyone has to make a wish.

Just stir the pudding mix three times
with a wooden spoon
and wish.

 Christmas Pudding


 12 oz of dried vine fruit 
(include glace cherries
or nuts if desired.)

Stir in a big glass full  of
rum or brandy 
or whisky or sherry
or red wine or Guinness,
 if that's all you have.

Let this soak for a day,
or a week.

Then add

1 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1  beaten egg (large.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
tsp lemon juice
 1 tbsp warm spices
(cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger
or all-spice. 
If you just have cinnamon,
 that will be fine)

 Stir all this together
all in one go.

Make a wish.
Everyone in the house must make a wish.

Pile all this into a bowl-shaped heat-proof pot.
Seal the top with a sheet of aluminium foil,
tucking it all around.
Put a saucer or a trivet into the bottom of a large pan,
Put the pot into a pan and fill with boiling water, 
so that the water comes half-way up the side 
of the pot full of pudding.

Simmer the pan for five hours.

Five hours.

Check the water periodically
and add more boiling water
when needed.

When the pudding is cooked,
remove the pot from the pan.
and let it cool.

When the pudding is cold
pour some more alcohol into it
a glassful of rum, or brandy,
sherry or whisky.
(You can do this periodically up until Christmas.)
and wrap in clean foil.

 Store until Christmas.

In fact, you can store it until next Christmas.


  1. Auntie Betty makes Christmas puddings by hand. She always leaves the fruit soaking in brandy for like a week first. I am not a pudding fan but I appreciate the effort that goes into it. It's nice to preserve old traditions.

    1. Oh, Laura, Auntie Betty does it right!

      It's a well-kept secret in the UK that no one actually eats the pudding, but you still need to have one.

      Me? I love the things. They're really good the next day, sliced and gently fried in butter. Because pudding fried in butter is just what you need after Christmas dinner!

      Next year, I'll write to your Auntie Betty. Ask her for her recipe!

  2. Miss B,
    I will definately have to try this recipe. Fruit and Alcohol? Sounds like my kind of pudding. :)

  3. I'm fascinated by the idea of a dessert so alcoholic you can save it an extra year or use it as a seige weapon...

    Oh, wrong type of pudding, but any tips on making yorkshire pudding? My grandmother used to make it and I loved it. (Yes, French family, Yorkshire pudding. No clue...)

    1. First tip?
      Be born in Yorkshire.
      Second tip is the one everyone has; the oven and the fat must be very hot. Blue smoke hot. Add the batter quickly, (the hot fat should hiss and spit) and shove them back into the oven. Making one big Yorkshire pud is difficult. I make the individual ones, because my mother did, and she was born in Yorkshire.
      I'll be making them in advance for Boxing Day, and freezing them. I cry less that way.


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