Disclosure: This blog post was commissioned by The Royal Mint to promote the tradition of Stir-Up Sunday. I was compensated for the cost of ingredients and my time, however all opinions are my own
Today I’m getting into the mood for Christmas here on the blog! Don’t worry, I know it’s early and I promise it won’t be wall-to-wall Christmas from here until the big day, but I’ve got an important recipe that needs to be shared with you in advance of Stir-Up Sunday, which this year falls on the 20th November. This post also includes a great giveaway, so be sure to read on for details!
Last year, I shared a gorgeous Christmas Pudding recipe from The Royal Mint, maker of the UK’s circulating and commemorative coins, along with lots of interesting facts about Stir-Up Sunday. You can see us in action making last year’s The Royal Mint Christmas pudding in the video below!
This year I’m going to share a different Christmas pudding recipe – our very own family recipe passed down from my Gran. Sadly my Gran is no longer with us, but my Mum has been faithfully following her recipe (with a few tiny tweaks) for as long as I can remember, and this year she passed it on to me to try.
There’s something really special about following a recipe that has been passed down like this – while I was measuring, preparing and weighing out ingredients I could almost see my Mum and my Gran going through the same lovely routine every year in preparation for a happy family Christmas, and maybe their mothers and grandmothers before them. Traditions tie us to those that have gone before and can be such a strong link to the past, so I think it’s really important for us to pass traditions on to our children for them to pass on in their turn too.
Adding a Royal Mint six pence to your Christmas pudding is another great Christmas tradition, said to bring good luck in the year ahead. Last year we received our very own six pence from the Royal Mint which allowed our family to join in with this lovely tradition. I hunted down the same six pence to add to our Christmas pudding mix this year too and will do the same every year in the future, passing the six pence on to one of my children when the time comes for them to make their own. You’ll have a chance to win your own Royal Mint silver six pence further down this post, so don’t miss your chance to enter! But first, here’s my family Christmas pudding recipe:
Gran’s Traditional Christmas Pudding
Ingredients (fills 2 x 1.2L pudding bowls):
- 400g white crusty loaf
- 90g carrots
- 1 large cooking apple
- 175g dates or prunes*
- 60g almonds
- 225g raisins
- 225g sultanas
- 225g currants
- 225g suet
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 225g self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 3 large eggs
- grated rind and juice 1/2 large lemon
- 1 1/2 Tbs brandy
- 1 1/2 Tbs sherry
- 1/4 pint (150 ml) strong dark ale e.g. Guinness + extra if needed
- lard, for greasing
Start by preparing your ingredients. Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas mark 6/390°F). Roughly slice up the loaf and place the slices on a large baking tray. Pop into the oven and bake until toasted and brown all over – timings will vary according to how fresh the bread is.
Once toasted, take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, weigh out the slices to 225g – you may have a little extra. Whizz up 225g of the toasted bread into bread crumbs using a food processor or blender. Tip into a very large bowl (I used a tall sided stock pot for mixing without too much mess!).
Prepare the carrot and cooking apple. The original recipe called for ‘minced’ carrot and cooking apple, but I whizzed them up in my Vitamix until finely chopped – you could also grate them if you don’t have access to a food processor. Add the minced carrot and apple to the bowl with the bread crumbs.
Chop the dates or prunes and almonds and add them to the bowl. You could also throw them in the food processor to quickly chop them as you have it out already.
Add the rest of the dry ingredients; raisins, sultanas, currants, suet, soft brown sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, ground nutmeg, mixed spice, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt to the bowl. Stir well to combine.
Break the eggs and add to the bowl. Zest and juice the lemon and add to the bowl. Add the brandy and sherry and stir the mixture well to combine.
Add 150ml of the dark ale to the mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too dry or stiff, add a little more ale until the pudding mixture has a moist consistency.
Cover the bowl and leave for 24 hours to mature. After 24 hours, it will be ready to basin up. You may need to add a little more ale at this point if the mixture is too dry, so keep some on stand by just in case.
Before putting the mixture into basins, call the family together and ask every member of the family to stir the pudding mixture, each making a special Christmas wish for the year ahead as they do so. Add the silver six pence to the mix and stir again until hidden**. Once the children are out of sight, I must admit I retrieve the six pence and hide it away until Christmas rather than bake it in the pudding. I then hide it on one of the bowls to be covered by a slice of pudding when serving (see notes below!).
To prepare the basins:
- Use 2 x 1.5L basins.
- Grease with lard. Place a small disc of non-stick paper at bottom of each basin.
- Fill to approx 1 inch (2.5 cms) below the top.
- Put a greased circle of non-stick paper (the size of the top of the basin) over the pudding.
- Cut a large square of greaseproof paper to go over whole of the basin. Put a fold into the paper to allow room for steam to expand (see photo below).
- Put a pudding cloth or a square of tin foil on top of this.
- Tie round with string and then tie ends of pudding cloth, trimming greaseproof paper neatly. If you are using tin foil rather than a pudding cloth, tie a string handle to the rest of the string for ease of lifting the bowl when steaming (see photo below)
If you prefer to use the plastic boil-able pudding basins, follow above up to bullet 5. Then push on lid tightly and trim the greaseproof paper.
The puddings will now need to be steamed for 6 hours. To steam your Christmas puddings, place a trivet, upturned saucer or heat safe ramekin in the bottom of a large stock pot (to keep the pudding basin away from direct contact with the base of the pan). Fill with boiling water to about 1/8th full. Place a pudding in the stock pot and check that the water level is to around half-way up the side of the pudding basin.
Put on the lid and steam at a gentle simmer for 6 hours. Keep an eye on the water to make sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry and add more water from the kettle to keep it topped up if needed.
Alternatively, you can also steam your Christmas puddings in a slow cooker – as above, keep the pudding basin away from direct contact with the base of the pan with a trivet, saucer or ramekin, fill with water to half-way up the side of the pudding basin, place the lid on tightly and steam on high for 8 hours (great for steaming overnight!).
Or you could use the oven method to steam them; Preheat the oven to 160°C (Gas mark 3/320°F). Stand the pudding basin(s) in a deep roasting tin, fill with hot water to approx. half way up the puddings(s). Cover the whole roasting tin with a tent of tin foil and cook for 6 hours.
Once steamed, cool the puddings then store them in a cool dry cupboard for up to two months until needed.
On Christmas Day, steam the pudding for a further 1 1/2 hours before turning out onto a plate. Dust with icing sugar and a sprig of holly to decorate, or alternatively, splash over brandy and light before serving. Our family tradition is to turn off all the lights in the house so that we can enjoy the full effect of our fiery Christmas pudding!
NOTES: *The original recipe called for dates, but due to personal preference (and a lifelong hatred of dates!) my mum always replaced them with prunes, so that’s what I used too.
We don’t drink sherry and I didn’t want to buy a full bottle just for this recipe, so I skipped the sherry and used double the amount of brandy instead.
This year, The Royal Mint is releasing a modern six pence just in time for Stir-Up Sunday. This new coin denomination adds a contemporary twist to the festive custom. Each silver six pence is year-dated, a great way to remember 2016 and add a touch of tradition to your Christmas preparations. If you would like to join in with this lovely old tradition and buy a six pence to stir into your Christmas pudding this Stir-Up Sunday, you can pre-order the special edition 2016 silver six pence from The Royal Mint here. Don’t delay though – there are only 5000 available and the last date for purchasing the coin to receive it in time for Stir up Sunday is 16th November!
As I mentioned before, you can also be in with a chance of winning your own limited edition Christmas Silver Six Pence from The Royal Mint. For your chance to win, simply comment on this blog post telling me about one of your own Christmas traditions, and enter using the rafflecopter below.
Please note the following giveaway terms and conditions:
The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the giveaway ending. If no response is received from the winner within 28 days then a new winner will be selected.
If an extra entry is earned by following Eats Amazing or The Royal Mint on Twitter, the winner must still be following Eats Amazing or The Royal Mint when the giveaway ends in order to claim their prize.
Prize is 1x Christmas Silver Six Pence 2016 UK from The Royal Mint. There is no cash alternative and the prize is non-refundable and non-transferable.
This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?
**IMPORTANT – please read: Obviously, due to size, putting a coin in a pudding might cause a risk of choking. And while we might all remember stirring a 2p or 20p piece in our puddings as children, modern knowledge of health and safety might change our thinking towards it, particularly if the coins aren’t pure silver, or have not been sterilised. As such, we recommend that you do not bake your coin into the pudding or when reheating. Instead, we recommend that coins should be placed into the pudding just prior to serving, with the slices then dished out at random to give someone the chance to find it. Alternatively, simply pop the sixpence in its pouch and hide it under one of the table settings before everyone sits down to dinner.
If you do add anything like coins or charms to your pudding, sterilise them first in boiling water. Make sure you choose items large enough to be noticed, or wrap them tightly in a ball of tin foil, and tell everyone to look out for them. This serves two purposes: it will increase the fun, and it counts as a word to the wise, so that Christmas dinner doesn’t close with people accidentally swallowing the coin or breaking teeth!
This recipe was added to the following linky: