Stir up Sunday - Move Over Christmas Pud

Chocolate Christmas puddingIt’s coming up to that time of year again. The first step of Christmas, the beginning of the festivities, looking forward to enjoying the end of a year and making plans for the next. Stir up Sunday.

Historically, this is the name given to the Sunday, five weeks before Christmas, where families gather around a large mixing bowl and make the Christmas Pudding. This warming tradition will be taking place on Sunday the 26th of November this year and it’s a great way to kick start the festivities.

Said to be taken from the opening words of the Book of Common Prayer, read on the Sunday before Advent, there is expected to be a whole lot of stirring taking place on this day. “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord” has been proclaimed and excitement and comfort is created by this special annual job.

Thirteen ingredients, representing thirteen disciples, is the customary number of items placed in the Christmas Pudding Bowl. Traditionally stirred from East to West, representing the Wise Men who visited Jesus in the Nativity Story, a wish is made by each member of the family, as they take it in turns to stir.

To finish the job, lucky charms are added to the mix. Silver coins, representing wealth, a wishbone for luck, a thimble for thrift, a ring for marriage and an anchor for safe harbour. Not sure how lucky these charms would be if you bit in to one and broke your tooth on Christmas Day though! If you do follow the tradition to this level, it is suggested you warn your fellow diners on the day and ensure these items are thoroughly clean! Don’t forget your holly sprig for the top, as this represents the crown of thorns; take note that a fake version is much less toxic.

So, why the Christmas Pudding? It is thought that this particular recipe is derived from the Middle Ages and a Christmas Porridge, called Frumenty. Initially this had been a savoury affair, consisting of boiled wheat grains, eggs and milk, served up with meats, such as venison. Over the years, this recipe evolved into a plum pudding where sugar, dried fruits and alcohol were added, to try and increase the shelf life. It was the 19th Century and Prince Albert’s declaration of his love for this “plum pudding” that elevated it to great demand and the Christmas Pud was born.

It’s a great tradition for the family to gather around a mixing bowl in the kitchen once a year, excited by the up and coming Christmas and chattering about news, life and fun events. Delicious aromas and warmth filling the kitchen and a whole heap of memories being stirred up too, but what if no-one likes Christmas Pudding? Can you still take part in this family ritual?

Of course, a new recipe! Move over Christmas Pudding, we have a new kid on the block. Thirteen ingredients stirred together to form a mix. Not a pudding to be steamed and kept for the following weeks, but a dry mix that can be measured out and stirred by young and old. It can be kept in a large, pretty jar, labelled “For Xmas Pudding”, (with lucky charms as well) and admired over the coming weeks. When at last Christmas dinner is roasting, grab your jar and make the best alternative to a Christmas Pudding ever and remember those wishes you made.

So, this could be your reason to get together on that Sunday; to stir up a new modern-day pudding, one that everyone (or most) will love (it’s a vegan bake too). Make your wishes as you all stir, feel excited about the Advent looming and most of all, make this a simple pleasure, in a busy life.

The New Pud On The Block – Stir Up Sunday

Ingredients

Serves 8-10

1. Self-Raising Flour 1 ½ cups
2. Plain Flour 1 ½ cups
3. Baking Powder 1 tsp
4. Bicarbonate of Soda 1 tsp
5. Cocoa Powder ½ cup
6. Cinnamon 1 tsp
7. Flaked Almonds ½ cup
8. Coconut Sugar ½ cup
9. Coffee Powder/Granules 1 tbsp
10. Dark Chocolate Chips
(vegan if needed) 150g
11. Flaxseeds 2 tbsp
12. Salt 1 tsp
13. Dates 10-12 whole

1/3 cup melted Coconut Oil and 1 ½ cups Dairy Free Milk to mix on the day.

Using “cups” is a great way to get the whole family involved in baking and measuring. Small, large, young and old hands can all take part in putting the dry mix together.

Chop the dates really finely (with a floured knife helps) and add to the dry mix. Get everyone to stir! East to West and make a wish!

Place the dry mix into an air tight container and leave for the big day.

When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200°C and grease an 8” round or square baking tin. Mix the coconut oil and milk with the dry ingredients until well incorporated and place into the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and firm to the touch on top. Don’t over-cook, this is great a little warm and stodgy in the middle!

Serve with lashings of custard or cream, laced with alcohol if you like, or any other delicious accompaniment in keeping with the dietary requests.

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