Time for Kitchen Alchemy Puddings and Yuletide Biscuits
Stir Up Sunday time to make the Yule Pudding… Normally the last Sunday before Advent!!! So much fun and serious Kitchen Alchemy to fill the bowl with dried fruit and spices and give it a good stir before steaming for several hours…. Stir Up Sunday started back in Victorian times, and was a tradition where families would come together to get their fruit puddings stirred up, steamed and stored ahead of Yule. Each member of the family would take a turn to give all the ingredients a good mix.. Something we love to do is make a wish as we stir… clockwise of course… it really isn't to difficult at all..
Yule puddings and fruit cakes benefit from being made long before you eat them, because the flavours intensify and colours deepen over time. this year we soaked it in some of Great Grandpa's Whisky overnight ,and then leave the mixture to infuse. At this stage, you have mincemeat that can be transferred into sterilised jars, ready to make mince pies with or even to give as a gift. To turn this mixture into a Yule pudding you’ll need some dry ingredients such as flour, breadcrumbs, suet, sugar and additional spices, along with an egg or two, and a spoonful of treacle or golden syrup. their are vegan and vegetarian options too..
A Yule pudding should be steamed in a ceramic pudding basin, lightly greased with butter. If you are making your pudding on stir-up Sunday as we will be, you can take the pudding out after steaming it and allow it to cool. Replace the greaseproof paper and tin foil with a couple of fresh pieces, re-tie with kitchen string and leave it in a cool, dark place. On the day itself, re-steam your pudding for at least two hours before serving… and importantly if you would like to craft your own… there's plenty of time.. Next Sunday will be just fine…
90g candied peel chopped
150ml cider brandy
75ml dark stout
4 medium eggs
70g dark muscovado sugar
70g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ tablespoon mixed spice
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
70g flaked almonds
250g fresh breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Place all the dried fruit and chopped peel into a bowl and cover in the brandy and stout. Cover with a wax wrap or plate and leave to soak overnight.
Beat the eggs and sugar together and then fold in the flour, baking powder, spices, suet and salt. Add the milk, soaked fruit and almonds to this mix then fold in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice.
Place the mixture into a large heat proof pudding basin, covered with a double layer of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil. Tie securely with string, making a handle over the top for easy manoeuvring.
Steam or boil for around four hours, it is really important not to undercook the pudding as the more you cook it, the darker the pudding you will get.
Once ready, allow the pudding to cool and then remove the greaseproof and foil from the pudding basin and replace with new, making another string handle. Cover and keep in a cupboard, or a cool place away from the light, for a minimum of three weeks. I have one ready and waiting from last year!
For a really grown up version of this, try swapping the sugar for treacle and putting in a good pinch of hot cayenne pepper or chilli powder!
To heat your pudding through on Christmas day, steam or boil for a further 2 hours.