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Day 576: Stir-up Sunday!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Today is "Stir-up Sunday." There's an old tradition in Britain that Christmas puddings should be mixed up and steamed on the last Sunday before Advent so they can "mature" in time for Christmas.


This is the first Christmas since we've been together (coming on sixteen years! suddenly I feel so old, lol) that we'll be in the US for the holidays. I didn't want Himself to feel too homesick, so I was determined to make the British-style Christmas goodies, both the steamed pudding and the Icing-and-marzipan covered Christmas cake.*

*Christmas cake is a lot like the standard British wedding cake: dense, heavy, full of fruit and with no small amount of brandy.

To that end, I brought some ingredients with me, things I can't find in the US, as well as the only pan I've been able to bake the Christmas cake in and a special pudding basin that helps me turn out a nice round ball of a pudding. I'm not sure Mrs Cratchit could do better!

I mix up the ingredients on The Day, but I won't steam my pudding until tomorrow. I follow one of Delia Smith's recipes and she says to let it sit overnight, so... I do.

Now, I'll be honest and admit I don't touch 'em. Christmas puddings are totally alien to me and maybe they're an acquired taste. I'm not terribly fond of fruitcake or raisins cooked into food, either, so maybe that plays a part in my not caring for them.

Nonetheless, the Brits in my life tell me I turn out a pretty good traditional pudding. I don't know as I can take much credit - this being Delia's recipe and all - but I know when a gracious "Thank You" is in order.

I've had my ups and downs with the Christmas cake, too, but Himself assures me even the not-so-great ones I've turned out still beat store-bought. I'll take him at his word: like the pudding, I don't care for them. They are dark, dense fruitcake, like the puddings booze-laden, and just not to my taste. But as long as he likes 'em, why, that's all that's required. As for me, I'll stick with red velvet.

Sitting in the kitchen tonight:

The fruit for the cake is macerating (more brandy!) so I'll be making that tomorrow as well. I'm a bit late getting to the cake, as you're supposed to "feed" it brandy a couple of times a week for several weeks in the lead-up to Christmas. Usually I make it in October. Still, as long as I bake it right, I think it'll be fine.

I'll keep you posted.

G'night, Sparklers, wherever you are--!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Woohoo...cake looks amazing
    1789 days ago
    emoticon Fruitcake and Cooked Raises are not tempting to Me, but I am sure that Mrs. Cratchitt would be Jealous!
    emoticon You and I can share the Red Velvet!
    1797 days ago
    Well, having been busy wreaking havoc tearing apart the Rec Room, have only just got round to studying Her Ladyship's blog.

    Having done my (very minor) share of the stirring - with obligatory secret wish - I am now doing what I do best . . . suggesting that the quantity of Brandy being added is quite insufficient. Having then recovered from the assault from She Who Must Be Obeyed, I retreat until the next time. Repeat ad nauseum.

    It must be said that she makes a "Reet gud bun, does the Missus".

    For a Yank to tackle successfully such Brit Traditions deserves all the credit she is given. This cake is the only solid substance which can lead to a DUI conviction.

    Now the Christmas Pud is another Brit Thing. Hours of preparation. Loving care etc. Then along comes I with half (well I say a quarter) of a bottle of red rum, to douse it and then WHOOSH, it all goes up in flames. Exciting stuff.

    Quarter it, then three for me and one for her (which she nibbles at and I finish off for her....) and cover in very brown "white sauce" - well it starts off white in the pan but has a tendency to be rather liberally dosed with yet more rum, till a nice caramel colour!!!
    Consume with enthusiasm.

    As Kate, our daughter, once said, it's not just the Pud that gets Lit-up at Christmas!!!

    1797 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/23/2015 10:18:53 PM
    I like a bite or 2 of a good fruit cake, never had the "pudding" or Christmas cake either. So awesome of you to learn and do the Brit traditions. I'm sure himself really appreciates it too.
    Now do you do a Thanksgiving dinner over there to share your holiday with him as well?

    My bro has a cheesecake business so that's pretty much what we eat and I only like a bite or 2 of them as well. Thanksgiving is always a pumpkin caramel cheesecake. Just too rich. I'll be making a light version of a trifle, not sure if it will be my blueberry lemon one or some other fruit type, maybe pineapple and ??? I use light ingredients and angel food cake, everyone loves it.

    Where ever you are and what ever you may be celebrating this coming weekend I hope you will enjoy. So just in case Happy Thanksgiving !!! I mean who isn't thankful for something right ???

    HUGS emoticon

    1797 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I totally agree with you about it,,fruitcake.. I love red velvet though!! YUM!
    1798 days ago
  • VEG954
    Looks fantastic and know it tastes even better.
    1798 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6687446
    I'm pretty sure you're going to turn out a fabulous meal. That's just the way you are. Happy Thanksgiving!
    1798 days ago
    I love family traditions...you are sweet to do this for others & WISE to steer clear yourself...I love those sticky toffee puddings...don't have it often & it's seldom I have any traditional Christmas pudding...
    1798 days ago
    Good for you in keeping up traditions for your dh! I don't like banana anything but I make a banana cake for my dh and banana cookies for Christmas---but I won't touch them either.
    1798 days ago
  • no profile photo EVIE4NOW
    Have never cared much for brandy so this isn't tempting me. Unfortunately where I cave is cheesecakes.
    1798 days ago
    Ooh, I'm intrigued! Thanks for sharing. Reminds me that my mom once upon a time made fruit cakes. I have never been so bold!
    1798 days ago
    Wow! Love the tradition of it, even if I side with you on it not being your cup of tea. :)
    1798 days ago
    Never thought to do this. Maybe next year... too much happening this Dec.
    1798 days ago
    Sounds yummy
    1798 days ago
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