Claim your FREE Sixpence!
I am delighted to tell all my readers that I have teamed up with The Royal Mint this year in order to try to re-establish the age-old tradition of Stir-Up Sunday. I am also thrilled to be able to share The Royal Mint’s recipe for a traditional Christmas Pudding, which you can all make on Stir-Up Sunday this year, which falls on Sunday the 22nd of November, 2015. And, there’s even better news, you can claim your sixpence by popping over to The Royal Mint here: Claim a FREE sixpence for Stir-Up Sunday. (The Royal Mint is giving away 2,015 sixpences)
So, what is Stir-Up Sunday? Stir-up Sunday is the Sunday before Advent, a day that was even mentioned to the congregations at church. The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549:
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.
(Book of Common Prayer of 1549)
This year, along with The Royal Mint, I am encouraging all my readers to make their puddings on Sunday, and share their photos on Instagram or Twitter; #StirUpSunday and tag @RoyalMintUK for the Christmas Pudding online party! The Royal Mint is a national treasure that produces beautifully crafted coins and medals for countries all over the world. Over a thousand years of craftsmanship and artistry ensures every piece they strike is a long-lasting piece of history, and what better charm to add to your pudding than a sixpence.
Christmas is a time for giving, so it’s not surprising that the connection between coins and Christmas has a very long history. The tradition of giving presents at Christmas began with the Three Magi bringing Jesus Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Over the years it became common practice to give money at Yuletide. Landowners would present hard-working and loyal staff with a Christmas ‘Box’, the origin of the name ‘Boxing Day’. Even today we often offer tradesmen (and women) a small sum for their services throughout the year and that is where the idea of adding a sixpence to a pudding is thought to stem from.
I hope to see all of you stirring up your Christmas Puddings this Stir-Up Sunday, with a sixpence added too of course! I’m dusting off my pudding bowls and checking I have all the ingredients to make my pudding, so do check out my Instagram and Twitter feeds next Sunday too, where I will be stirring my pudding and adding my own Royal Mint sixpence. In the meantime, here is the rather wonderful Royal Mint Christmas Pudding recipe courtesy of Rachel Walker, Food Editor of Readers Digest. Karen
Disclaimer: Commissioned work with The Royal Mint
If you’re making a Christmas pudding this Stir-Up Sunday, share your pictures on The Royal Mint’s Twitter and Instagram using #StirUpSunday @RoyalMintUK and we’ll share our favourites – there may even be a little prize for our favourite photo! – Don’t forget to add your own lucky sixpence!
The Royal Mint Christmas Pudding
|Serves||8 - 10|
|Prep time||24 hours, 30 minutes|
|Cook time||6 hours|
|Total time||30 hours, 30 minutes|
|Misc||Pre-preparable, Serve Hot|
|By author||Rachel Walker|
- 170g sultanas
- 140g currants
- 140g raisins
- 200ml water
- 30g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2tsp ground mace
- 1/2tsp ground ginger
- 55g breadcrumbs
- 85g shredded suet (if you cannot get hold of suet, softened butter works just as well)
- 40g chocolate (70%), grated
- 1 cooking apple, peeled and grated
- 85g soft dark brown sugar
- 20g chopped mixed peel
- 55g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 orange, zested
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 3 tbsp brandy
- Large elastic band
- 1 egg, beaten
- Knob of butter for greasing
- The Royal Mint Sixpence
- 1 litre pudding/pyrex bowl
- Greaseproof paper
- Stock pot
- Steamer basket/Deep saucer/ramekin
This year, to mark hundreds of years of tradition, The Royal Mint has commissioned Chef Rachel Walker to create their very own Royal Mint Christmas Pudding ahead of Stir Up Sunday.
The Christmas pudding is one of the essential British Christmas traditions, having been introduced to the Victorians by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. On Stir Up Sunday, families gather together in the kitchen of their home to mix and steam Christmas pudding. Parents teach their children how to mix ingredients for the pudding and everyone takes a turn to stir the pudding mix and make a special Christmas wish for the year ahead.
|Step 1||Put the sultanas, currants and raisins in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Leave to soak, uncovered, overnight.|
|Step 2||Sift the flour and spices into a mixing bowl.|
|Step 3||Add the breadcrumbs, suet / butter, grated chocolate, grated apple, brown sugar, mixed peel, almonds, lemon and orange zest.|
|Step 4||Mix well, using your hands to get rid of any lumps of butter and ensuring the mixture is fully blended together|
|Step 5||Stir in the soaked fruit, which will have plumped-up over overnight. Next, stir in the treacle, brandy and beaten egg.|
|Step 6||Mix well, and stand overnight. While this isn't necessary, the marinating helps the spices soak in. Before you're ready to cook, stir in the sixpence. It's traditional for everyone to give the pudding a turn with a wooden spoon at this stage, and make a wish.|
|Step 7||Use the knob of butter to grease the pudding bowl, and tip the Christmas pudding mixture into it.|
|Step 8||Cut one circle of greaseproof paper, which is few inches bigger than the rim of the bowl. Use a large elastic band to secure it over the pudding bowl with a folded pleat running through the middle. This will room to allow the pudding to release excess steam. Cover the top with a piece of tin foil (same size as the greaseproof paper) and then tie it tightly with the string.|
|Step 9||Make a loop of string across the top, to fashion a handle, so the pudding can be easily lifted in and out of the pan.|
|Step 10||If you are using a steaming pot, pour some water into the bottom of the stock pot – about one eighth full – so that the steaming basket sits in the bottom, just above the water level. Bring the water to boil, and place the Christmas pudding in the basket.|
|Step 11||If you don’t have a steaming basket, simply use the upturned saucer or ramekin so that the pudding basin is kept away from direct contact with the base of the pan. Then fill the stock pot with water to around half-way up the side of the pudding basin.|
|Step 12||Put on the lid, and steam at a gentle simmer for four hours. Keep an eye on the water to make sure that the pan doesn't boil dry, and add more water from the kettle to keep it topped-up if needed|
|Step 13||If the lid of the stock pot doesn't fit on tightly, it's not ideal, but not disastrous– as long as there's plenty of steam circulating. Keep an even more careful eye on water levels though, as a loosely-covered pot is more likely to boil dry.|
|Step 14||Lift the pudding out of the pan after four hours, making sure you keep the greaseproof lid on – that way you can store the Christmas pudding for up to two months.|
|Step 15||On Christmas Day, steam the pudding again for another two hours, and serve – perhaps with a sprig of holly on top, and a splash of brandy to light.|
The tradition of Christmas stockings also began with coins. There are countless versions of the story, but this one is delightful, and starts with St. Nicholas. A 4th Century Greek saint, he was also rich as his wealthy parents had died when he was young.
He loved giving gifts to those less fortunate, preferably in secret, and heard about a local nobleman who had lost both his wife and his money, and had moved into a peasants’ cottage with his three daughters, all of marriageable age. In those days, a girl needed a dowry to offer the groom’s parents, and this poor family had barely enough to eat.
St. Nicholas knew they were too proud to accept charity. On spotting that the girls had hung their stockings to dry on the chimney ledge St Nicolas decided to climb down the chimney and put a bag of silver coins into the oldest girl’s stocking. On the next visit he placed coins into the second daughter’s stocking. The third time, the grateful father hid in the room and caught St. Nicholas in the act.
Although St. Nicholas begged him to keep it a secret, word soon got out, and everyone started to hang their stockings, hoping for a visit from St. Nicholas. Of course, his generosity meant that all three daughters could marry which, perhaps, may have led to another long-held tradition that, at first sight, has nothing to do with Christmas at all…….
Tom M says
This sounds wonderful! Step 5 of the recipe calls for treacle, brandy, and egg but I don’t see those in the ingredient list. How much of each should I use?
Karen Burns-Booth says
I can see it in the ingredients after blanched almonds Tom – can you see it now too? I hope you enjoy this recipe if you make it! Karen
This is such a lovely idea! Traditions like these really make Christmas special x
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks Dom – yes, I agree, and I am delighted that I have a sixpence this year to pop in my pudding, as I lost my last one!