As a young girl I remember my grandmother being extremely busy months before Christmas, in her kitchen making Christmas cakes and puddings.
These images always struck me as odd, until recently, whilst I was researchingold Christmas traditions and I came across Stir up Sunday.
What is Stir up Sunday ?
But what exactly is stir up Sunday and what does it have to do with Christmas puddings?
Stir up Sunday, as it turns out, is the day ( about 5 weeks before Christmas) that you gather in your kitchen to prepare the Christmas pudding.
Traditionally Stir up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before the Christian season of Advent begins
The delicious aromas that waft throughout your home signal the start of the Christmas season.
The whole family stirs the pudding
The forgotten customs of this tradition, bring the entire family together, as according to tradition, each member has a turn to stir the dark, rich pudding mixture from East to West. This symbolizes the wise men’s journey to find the baby Jesus.
Images of an entire family all gathered in a warm kitchen, are the images Christmas cards are made of and the reason we hold onto traditions and customs as we get older.
To remember and hold dear the value of family.
The Christmas coins
As the pudding mixture is being stirred a wish is made and a coin is tossed into the mixture.
Today silver coins, which can be wrapped in foil, are added but as a young girl, I remember finding beautiful silver charms in our Christmas pudding. These would lovingly be cleaned and added to my charm braclet.
My grandmother instinctively knew just which slice of pudding to dish up to make sure I always recieved a treasure. As an adult , I have to wonder if these coins and charms were not infact added in after she sliced our piece of pudding.
Finding these coins on Christmas day was supposed to bring you health, wealth, happiness and ensured that everyone ate a piece of pudding to try get one.
The perfect Christmas pudding
Also referred to as a plum pudding during the Victorian era who dubbed any fruit pudding a plum pudding if they contained raisins, currants, beef suet,citrus zest, almonds and spices.
A perfect Christmas pudding is both dense and moist. It oozes with a rich array of fruit and brandy.
As beautiful as the puddings look they are rather time consuming to make due to the time needed to weigh the fruit, marinate it and steam the final mixture. It is then put away in a cool dark place and steamed for a further hour on Christmas day again.
The pudding consists of 13 fruit and these represent Jesus and his 12 disciples.
Traditionally this rich pudding is flamed before serving and served with a vintage port.
It’s interesting to note that the biggest difference between a Christmas cake and a christmas pudding is that, even though their ingredients are relatively similar, the cake is baked whilst the pudding is steamed.
The pudding also contains either meat or vegetable suet whilst the cake does not.
This year I’m going to attempt to make my own Christmas pudding. I’d love some tips in the comments if you’ve made your own.