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These Stir-Up Sunday recipes are a fun way to prepare for the Christmas season before Advent arrives. From homemade Christmas puddings and cakes to make ahead and freeze treats.
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If you’re not familiar with Stir Up Sunday, celebrated on the last Sunday before Advent, here’s a bit about the event.
What is Stir-Up Sunday?
The name, “Stir-Up Sunday” is derived from the beginning of the “collect” in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer that says: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people”.
Since the Victorian era in Britain, Stir-Up Sunday is a family tradition of gathering and preparing for Christmas. Specifically by making Christmas pudding, an essential part of the holiday.
Family Tradition of Stir-Up Sunday
Traditionally, Stir-Up Sunday begins when the family gathers in the kitchen. It’s a time of sharing and mixing ingredients together, teaching the children the family’s sometimes “secret” Christmas pudding recipe.
In fact, one of the rituals of the event is that everyone takes a turn stirring the pudding. During which time, they are to make a wish for the new year ahead.
A second tradition is to always stir the pudding from the East to the West in honor of the Wise Men who followed the star to bring gifts to baby Jesus.
Stir-Up Sunday: History of the Christmas Pudding
Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, is credited with introducing Britain to the traditional Christmas pudding.
However, the Royal Family uses King George’s Christmas Pudding recipe, first introduced in 1714. Reportedly from their ties to Germany. Here’s a link to Mt. Vernon where they share King George’s pudding recipe.
Christmas Puddings are usually prepared 5 weeks before Christmas, on Stir-Up Sunday, and refrigerated until Christmas Day.
Ingredients in Traditional Christmas Puddings
Christmas pudding recipes are as unique as families themselves.
Most, though, contain similar ingredients of dried fruit, prunes, and dates, candied peel, mixed spice, treacle, suet, eggs, breadcrumbs, and dark brown sugar.
Traditionally a Christmas pudding would contain 13 ingredients to symbolize Jesus and his 12 disciples.
How to Serve a Traditional Christmas Pudding
As with all worthy traditions, there is a custom or ritual involved in serving Christmas Pudding. Here are a few:
- It is served on Christmas Day
- Usually topped with sprigs of holly (plastic is preferred as the holly berries are poisonius)
- Lit with brandy for a speactular Christmas entrance
- Often served with butter and cream or lashings of warm custard.