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Here on the plot we’re hurtling towards another milestone on the journey towards Christmas readiness – *Stir Up Sunday* which will give us plenty to take our mind off the howling winds,rising flood waters in the middle of town and the fact that we are rapidly developing trenchfoot.

Time was that this was a community event with family members each taking a turn at stirring the mix from East to West before trooping down to the village hall with their carefully marked pud and placing it with all the others in the communal steamer. Time for a knit and natter, catching up on the local news before taking your pud home, rewrapping it and stowing it safely away in the pantry for the day itself.

We are likely to be mixing our pud post rugby mudfest in the privacy of our own kitchen on Sunday afternoon. Unlike the cake the pud is an old favourite inherited from my Great grandmother and includes the addition of a couple of grated carrots. Secreting a vegetable or two into sweet treats obviously runs in the family.

Granny Scourfield’s Christmas Pudding

Ingredients

  • 300g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
  • 350g raisins
  • 100g mixed peel (we’re not keen on mixed peel so substitute a mix of peel, dried cranberries and dried apricots finely chopped)
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 250g suet
  • 225g demerara sugar
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g currants
  • 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small glass of brandy
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method

Put the breadcrumbs in a very large mixing bowl. Sieve in the flour together with the mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then add the remaining dry ingredients including the dried fruit..Add the  grated carrots and apples.

Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix together, from east to west, with a big wooden spoon. At this point you can add lucky charms to the mix for lucky people to find on Christmas Day. My granny used threepenny bits. The whole family should take it in turns to give it a stir, closing their eyes and making a wish.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp teacloth and leave overnight.

Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with muslin cloth and tie with string. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, You can use a pan of simmering water if you don’t have a steamer. It needs to reach  2/3rds up the sides of the basins. Be sure to keep the water topped up.

Remove and allow  to cool.

When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the brandy using a long match and tip over the pudding just before serving.

picture courtesy of Local Morsels