Stir It Up Sunday!
This year stir it up Sunday falls on 25th November so get your Bake-off head on and get ready.
This Victorian tradition is a time to gather family and friends and make wishes come true (so long as they are wishes for Christmas pudding anyway). The date stems from the opening words of the Book Of Common Prayer, used on the last Sunday before Advent. It reads: "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people," and so it became the tradition that this is the day to get stirring! It also happens that its a good spell before Christmas to allow your pudding and your cake to mature and get the best flavour.
To help make your Stir it up a bit easier, plastic free and reduce food waste, we have put together pre-weighed packs of dried fruit (and nuts if you like) ready for soaking and stirring.
Christmas Cake Recipe
Prep time 50 mins. Cook time 2hrs 30mins Makes 10-12 slices
150ml sherry, brandy, rum or brewed cooled tea plus extra for ‘feeding’
Zest and juice of 2 oranges, 2 lemons and 4 clementines
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g light, soft brown sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
200g plain flour
2 tsps mixed spice
Start the day before you want to bake. Put your dried fruit mixture into a large bowl with your choice of alcohol or tea, citrus zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave overnight.
Next day, heat the over to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3. Butter and double line a deep cake tin about 20cm round or 18cam square - with enough baking paper to come about 2.5cm above the top of the tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of newspaper, secure with string. This prevents the outside of your cake burning.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one.
Tip the flour, mixed spice, soaked fruit mix and any liquid from the bowl plus your nuts if using. Stir everything together and scrape into the prepped cake tin. Using the back of the spoon, make a slight dent in the centre of the mixture. Bake for 1.5hrs.
After 1.5hrs reduce the temperature to 140C/120C fan/Gas 1, loosely cover the top of the cake with a double sheet of parchment. and bake for another 45 mins to an hour or until a skewer poked right to the bottom in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the tin, then lift out and wrap in parchment (you can reuse the pieces you baked with) and a layer of foil. Store in a cool, dark place.
Open the cake up every week or two and feed by making holes with a skewer or cocktail stick (or a fork) and dribbling over a little more of your choice of alcohol or tea so the cake soaks it up.
Decorate and you like - a dusting of icing sugar or dill on marzipan and icing
Christmas Pudding Recipe
140g whole glacé cherry
50g whole blanched almond
zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
50ml/2fl oz orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (or orange juice)
175g light muscovado sugar
175g fresh white breadcrumb
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
175g butter, frozen
2 eggs, beaten
butter, for greasing
Mix the fruit, almonds, citrus zests and the carrot with the brandy and orange liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add to the soaked fruit mixture. Grate in the butter, then add the eggs and stir. Don’t forget to make a wish!
Grease a 1.5-litre pudding basin with butter and line the base with parchment paper. Spoon in the mixture, press down well and make a hollow with the back of the spoon in the centre. Cover the surface with a round of greaseproof paper, then cover the bowl with double-thickness greaseproof paper and foil and tie at the rim with string. Lower the pudding into a pan with an upturned saucer in the base, then fill with water until it comes halfway up the sides of the bowl. Steam for 6 hrs, topping up with water as necessary.
Alternatively, steam in the oven. Stand the pudding basin in a roasting tin filled with water, then cover with a tent of foil and cook for the same length of time at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Check roasting tin occasionally as the water may need to be topped up.
To store, allow to cool, then store in a cool, dry cupboard. The pudding will keep for up to a year.
On the day, steam for 1 hr before turning out, decorating with holly and serving with extra-thick double cream or vanilla ice cream.