It’s Stir-up Sunday today, and I’m having a go at my first Christmas pudding. My dad always makes puddings according to an old family recipe and I’ve been meaning to have a go for ages.
Of course, the angle of interest for the beer geek is the vexing question of what beer to use while making it. Pete Brown went for a rare beer used in the Queen’s pudding, no less. And we see that Thornbridge have supplied their excellent St Petersburg Stout to some luxury pudding manufacturer.
Now, I’m always a bit sceptical about using good quality booze in food — by the time you’ve added all the other ingredients and cooked whatever it is you’re making, I find it hard to believe that the beautiful balance and flavourings that you appreciate in your tipple are going to shine on through.
I turned to my two culinary stalwarts at this point. Delia suggests using both extra stout and barley wine (“pubs usually have it”, she says, optimistically. I wish they did, Delia, I wish they did). My dad, on the other hand, uses a tin of Guinness.
I scoured the beer cellar garage, and returned with some Coopers Best Extra Stout. We’ve had this a few times before (it seems to be a popular option in our local off licence) and find it a delicious, reliable, sturdy stout. As we’d recently bought a six pack, I had no hesitation in using a whole bottle to marinate my fruit, spice and vegetable mix.
The mix has been soaking overnight, so today it’s time to mix in the other ingredients (breadcrumbs, flour, eggs), stir it up, make a wish and then steam them for many hours. The puddings will then have a month to mature until Christmas. We always used to eat puddings that were made the year before, so I’ve made two, so I can keep one back for Christmas 2010.
While attempting to prove to Bailey that Stir-up Sunday was not some bonkers tradition my parents invented, I was pleased to note that the top Google ranking goes to this site put together by a junior school in Kent. I have added this additional link to do my bit to keep them there.