Andy Frost

Stir Up Sunday: Tips, Tricks and Traditions

The last Sunday before advent begins is traditionally known as Stir Up Sunday, when families would get together and make the mixture for their Christmas pudding.

With Stir Up Sunday just around the corner, head chef Andy Frost shares his top tips to making the perfect pudding:

Cram it with fruit! I use Bidfood’s sultanas, prunes, mixed peel, apricots and figs – but you can use whatever you like! You can’t go wrong with sultanas, they’re a staple.

Start soaking early. I always start soaking my fruit in late August or early September, as the longer you leave it, the better the flavour. I use a boozy mixture of rum and brandy, with the addition of orange and lemon juice to give that extra zesty-flavour.

It’s as much about texture as it is flavour. Your pudding should be fairly dense, not have a sponge-like texture, but without being solid.

Rest the pudding mixture for up to a week before steaming. I tend to ‘check in on it’, stirring it once or twice. Always check the taste of the spices – you can always add more if needed. As tradition dictates, don’t forget to make a wish when stirring the ingredients!

It’s all in the steam. Always add the mixture to a buttered lidded pudding basin, it makes the steaming process easier and a lot less fiddly than having to line and foil a traditional earthenware basin. Steam for 4-6 hours if possible. The longer the steam, the richer the pudding becomes. Then leave in the fridge until the big day. When re-heating on the day, it takes another two hours to steam.

Brandy custard is a must! My personal favourite is to serve my family Christmas pudding with rich brandy custard , topped with double cream (I’m ignoring the calories, it’s Christmas after all!)

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