24 Nov – Stir-Up Sunday

Christmas pudding decorated with skimmia rathe...

Sure, you could go out and buy a Christmas pudding, but where is the fun in that? Celebrate Stir-Up Sunday and make your own pudding!

The traditional festivity always takes place five Sundays before Christmas, and is on the 24th of November this year. On this day, each member of the family takes a turn at stirring the pudding while making a wish. The steamed pudding is then stored in a cool spot until Christmas Day.

Stir-Up traditions include:

  • The pudding should be stirred from East to West.
  • Feel free to sing the age-old children’s rhyme: Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
    And when we get home we’ll eat the lot.
  • A lucky coin is traditionally dropped into the batter and baked into the pudding, as well as the optional additions of a thimble and ring. It is said that the person who finds the coin in his/her pudding on Christmas Day will find wealth, the finder of the thimble will lead a lucky life, and the finder of the ring will soon marry (editor’s note: be careful that your teeth don’t find the objects, or soon you may find a dentist).

For additional details of the origin of Stir-Up Sunday and a pudding recipe, please see Mandy Barrow’s complete post at Project Britain. Food Network also has several pudding recipes, including “Nana’s Traditional Christmas Steamed Plum Pudding with Hard Sauce”, as does All Recipes UK/Ireland (with metric measurements).

As far as a steaming vessel, several members of our group maintain that you can use any bowl or mold (as long as it is heat-proof to withstand the boiling water). I had difficulties in getting the foil to remain affixed properly to the bowl to prevent water from leaking into the batter. So, after searching many stores, my mother (as I had all but given up) found a proper steamed pudding mold at Sur la Table. I love it!

So, go forth and Stir it Up Sunday! Besides the fun of making the pudding, you get a chance at a lucky wish! Plus, many recipes call for soaking the pudding in brandy or rum several times throughout the 5 weeks. Of course, you can’t add the spirits without tasting them first…it is a good baker’s duty to check the ingredients!