Christmas Pudding

Stirring up for Sunday – Whisky Pudding

The tradition to begin Christmas food preparation, inparticular the Christmas Pudding, begins on Stir up Sunday which is the last Sunday before advent. This year falls it falls on 21st November. The term Stir-up Sunday comes from the first verse of the collect for the day and has been adopted by the Anglican church.

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Usually I follow this tradition, but this year due to a hectic diary I made my Christmas Pudding a week early. Of all the traditional festive foods the Christmas Pudding is my favourite, it easily wins over Christmas Cake. Even after being full of a traditional Christmas dinner I can always make way for pudding. I can still remember as  child my dad walking in to the dining room with the pudding all alight.

Many people have traditions when making their puddings from stirring from east to west to represent the 3 kings, having a wish when stirring it and placing a silver coin in the pudding mix. In my case the traditions seem to be how much alcohol I can get in the pudding along with praying it will come out of the mould.

One of the main reasons I make my own pudding (and mincemeat for that matter) is that I’m quite a fussy being when it comes to festive fayre. I’m not a big fan of suet being used it in sweet dishes but use grated butter which works just as well. If it says there is alcohol in it I want to be able to taste it and it must be jam packed with fruit. I also like to experiment with flavours and making these foods heralds the beginning of the festive season for me.

Thanks to my lack of Whisky knowledge, sorry Hubs, this may be one of the most expensive Christmas puddings I’ve ever made. Previous years the fruit has been soaked in Guinness. This year I wanted to use whisky as I though Hubs had quite a collection and we could do with using some of it. I picked up the closest bottle to hand, sloshed a generous amount over the fruit then decided to read the bottle. I had only gone and picked up some of Hubs’ expensive whisky and used £15 of it in the pudding. I then had a sip of it and had used a peaty whisky. I will admit this does dominate the flavour of the pudding, but by the time it is served in December the intensity of the whisky should hopefully mellow a bit and the spices become more dominant. If you didn’t want to be so extravagant with the alcohol replace some or all with orange juice.

Since making my own Christmas pudding I’ve always wanted to try a spherical mould for curoisity and nostalgic reasons. Bizarrely it looks a bit like a cyberman. I now know from experience why these moulds have gone out of fashion. Eventhough I had buttered the mould I had a few tense moments getting the pudding out of the mould and did wonder if we were going to get two crumbled hemispheres. Due to the pudding being a sphere we also had a few hairy moments when the newly released pudding started to roll on the worktop, cue flashbacks of On Top of Spaghetti.  This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use the mould again. It would work really well for other steamed pudding along with desserts like icecream bombe. The cooking instruction below are for making it in a pudding basin rather than a mould.

Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in… Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.” Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

Whisky Christmas Pudding
makes 1x 2lb pudding

500g luxury mixed fruit
100g dates, chopped
250ml whisky
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 medium bramley apple, peeled and grated
100g cold butter, grated, plus extra for the basin
100g dark muscovado sugar, plus 2 tbsp
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs , beaten

1) In a large bowl soak the mixed fruit, dates, orange & lemon zest and apple in the whisky for 24-48 hours.

2) Butter a 2lb pudding bowl then lightly coat the butter in 2tbsp of muscovado sugar by slowly tipping and turning the bowl.

3) Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit that has been soaking. Stir until well combined. Spoon into the basin and level.

4) Take a sheet or foil and greaseproof and make a pleat in the middle (this allows for the expanding pudding). Place over the top of the pudding bowl, greasproof paper side down, and fix in place with string.

5) Sit the pudding bowl on top of an upturned heatproof saucer inside a saucepan. Pour boiling water half the way up the pudding. Cover and steam for 6 hours. Top water up as required.

6. Once the pudding is cooked cover with fresh greasproof paper and foil. Store in a cool dry place. To reheat either cook in the microwave (minus the foil), on medium, for 10 or steam for a further hour.

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

24 thoughts on “Stirring up for Sunday – Whisky Pudding

  • thingswemake

    (November 18, 2010 - 12:59 pm)

    Do you know, I’ve never made a Christmas pudding. Not been interested, as I don’t really like Christmas pudding, cake or even mince pies. But having seen this I think I might make one…but on my terms. With only things I like in it. Will let you know…

    • Jules

      (November 18, 2010 - 1:16 pm)

      I think Christmas pud/cake/mincemeat are very much marmite. People either love or hate them. You could try making a chocolate one with just the fruits you like.

  • Chele

    (November 18, 2010 - 1:42 pm)

    Oh I like the sound of a Chocolate Christmas Pudding! Your Whisky Pudding looks the ‘bomb’ lol.

  • Petit Filoux

    (November 18, 2010 - 1:42 pm)

    oops about the whisky!! hihi – I don’t imagine he’ll be too pleased! But I’m just it’ll give the pudding a rather unique flavour!

    • Jules

      (November 18, 2010 - 1:57 pm)

      I did confess to him. Luckily the whisky I had used was a gift so it didn’t see too bad that I had used so much of it. The gentlemen in the family are very much looking forward to Christmas Day and tasting it.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mary Grindley, Jules. Jules said: Stirring up for Sunday – Whisky Pudding: http://wp.me/pJrBR-ok […]

  • Doris Wolfe

    (November 19, 2010 - 5:25 am)

    6 hours cooking time? Oy vey.

    • Jules

      (November 19, 2010 - 5:40 am)

      6 hours, yep. Luckily I work from home so had it simmering away while I was working.

  • attheamericantable

    (November 29, 2010 - 8:00 pm)

    Good photos.

  • Anet

    (December 1, 2010 - 7:04 pm)

    Oh my, that looks so delicious. My favorite Christmas bread is the German stollen, and I’m making it right now, to take to relatives that I won’t see at Christmas time.
    Some day, I’ll try this whiskey pudding!

  • Christmas Food Wishlist « Butcher, Baker

    (December 5, 2010 - 8:39 pm)

    […] toy with the idea of flogging it on eBay but have decided to share it with friends next week as our Whisky Pudding for Christmas Day is currently maturing. You can read a review of the Heston pudding on Fuss Free […]

  • […] make your own mince pies, pastry, Christmas pudding
    (use Domestic Jules Recipe but leave out citrus peel and currants
    and add a spoonful of cocoa), brandy butter, sausage rolls
    […]

  • […] Faggots 48. Eccles cake 49. Potted Cromer crab 50. Trifle 51. Stargazy pie 52. English mustard 53. Christmas pudding the best pudding in the world. 54. Cullen skink 55. Liver and bacon with onions 56. Wood pigeon 57. […]

  • A Dapper Welsh Adventure « Butcher, Baker

    (September 4, 2011 - 4:25 pm)

    […] using some of Hubs’ fine whisky collection in baking which last year contributed on me making a Christmas pudding that rivalled Heston’s on price so it was a surprise that Hubs let me do the whisky tasting while he drove. After tasting […]

  • […] brandy or whisky. Given I’m banned from Hubs’ whisky collection after last year’s expensive whisky Christmas Pudding incident I decided to use sloe gin as we seem to have quite a few forgotten vintages hiding under the […]

  • thingswemake.co.uk

    (October 30, 2011 - 5:01 pm)

    I am making a second version of this right now! Last year I made 2 x 1lb ones with no citrus peel and with a spoonful of cocoa. This year I have altered it a bit more. The one we left for nearly 2 months before we ate it last year tasted amazing, hence my early steaming this year. Thank you for converting me.

    • Jules

      (October 30, 2011 - 6:42 pm)

      Glad I converted you. It’s amazing how the flavour changes as it matures. I’m thinking of making it with Burton Porter this year.

  • […] recipe started off as Domestic Jules’ Whisky Pudding then was developed to take into account my hate of candied peel and pippy raisins or currants. I […]

  • Tori @ eatori

    (November 19, 2011 - 11:11 pm)

    Just gorgeous- have always had my Granny’s voice, still whispering in my ear about the merits of suet- but then she also put carrot in her mincemeat. Care of your encouragement, am very keen to see what results butter brings. Thank you!

  • […] brandy or whisky. Given I’m banned from Hubs’ whisky collection after last year’s expensive whisky Christmas Pudding incident I decided to use sloe gin as we seem to have quite a few forgotten vintages hiding under the […]

  • […] be this year means shockingly I’ve not made of my traditional Christmas cakes or puddings as I may have nowhere to store them.  However I wasn’t going to let Christmas go by without […]

  • A Dapper Welsh Adventure » Butcher, Baker

    (February 10, 2013 - 8:37 pm)

    […] using some of Hubs’ fine whisky collection in baking which last year contributed on me making a Christmas pudding that rivalled Heston’s on price so it was a surprise that Hubs let me do the whisky tasting while he drove. After tasting […]

  • Jules: Butcher Baker (@DomesticJules)

    (November 23, 2013 - 9:06 am)

    Tomorrow is Stir-up Sunday. How about making our potent Whisky Christmas Pudding? http://t.co/pEvuvAeo8T http://t.co/sWy6lx8tjm

  • @Core_Commercial

    (November 23, 2013 - 9:13 am)

    RT @DomesticJules: Tomorrow is Stir-up Sunday. How about making our potent Whisky Christmas Pudding? http://t.co/pEvuvAeo8T http://t.co/sWy…

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