Today is Stir-up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent begins when it is traditional to make the Christmas pudding. One of my favourite Christmas traditions is that everyone in the house takes a turn to stir, while making a wish. We never skipped this tradition in our household growing up and now that I do my own Christmas baking I make sure my flatmates take a turn at stirring. It’s a fairly good labour-saving device too!
This year I’m not doing any Christmas baking – not yet, anyway. I’m off to New Zealand for Christmas and home-made cakes and puddings are notoriously difficult to get through Customs. A great family tragedy is that when my grandmother arrived for her first Christmas in New Zealand the Christmas cake she had baked was confiscated. Rather unfairly, shop-bought, packaged goodies are usually allowed through.
So it’s quite exciting that this year, Waitrose have stepped in and done the baking for me. Yesterday I received in the post a Heston from Waitrose Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding. This 1.2kg pudding has a whole candied orange in the centre, the idea being that the essential oils infuse the pudding with flavour. This just sound so amazing that I almost decided to eat it today, but it felt a bit sacrilegious to demolish a Christmas pud on the day everyone else is making theirs. Plus, the reason you make pudding on Stir-up Sunday is to give the flavours time to develop. So I’m going to save it and take it to New Zealand for Christmas dinner where it can sit next to the pavlova and strawberries – provided the gods of Customs and Immigration smile on me that is. Thank you, Waitrose!
According to the press release, the story behind the pudding’s creation will be on their new Facebook page, launching on November 18. Unfortunately it’s not up yet, but I’ll keep an eye out as anything involving Heston Blumenthal is always interesting.
If like me you haven’t spent your day baking but unlike me do want to make your own, try Dan Lepard’s Stir-up Sunday recipes for Christmas pudding and mincemeat.
Once you’ve solved the buy or make your own dilemma, the only question left is what sauce to use. Brandy butter, brandy sauce and white sauce are the more traditional alternatives, but it seems more and more people are opting for cream or custard. That’s after you pour the flaming brandy on it of course!