Stir-up Sunday

Cooper's stout, along with the other ingredients for Christmas pudding

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.

5 thoughts on “Stir-up Sunday”

  1. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of Christ­mas pud­ding. My moth­er used to make a batch of them (using Guin­ness of course) and dis­trib­ute them to the aunts and uncles. By all accounts they were deli­cious, and the German’s real­ly loved it too. So, I want a recipe for some­thing sim­i­lar, with beer, that I can have! 😀

  2. Tom and Bar­ry – fol­low the link to Delia’s recipe. You won’t be dis­ap­point­ed.

    Tan­dle­man – can’t you just sneak down in the mid­dle of the night and pour some beer over it.…? E need nev­er know.

  3. If you’re mak­ing my fam­i­ly recipe, you also need to add a gen­er­ous table­spoon of trea­cle, a grat­ed car­rot and var­i­ous types of nut. I added stem gin­ger to mine, ‘coz I love it.

    And our technique’s a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to Delia’s too – basi­cal­ly you soak all the fruit in the beer with the zest and the spices overnight. You then mix in the oth­er ingre­di­ents ear­ly the next day (on the Sun­day), leave for a few more hours, then steam the pud­dings for about five hours. Lots of recipes seem to go for sev­en hours or more but I think that’s a bit exces­sive – you’re going to steam it again on Christ­mas day.

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