Christmas Pudding or Omigosh I Missed Stir Up Sunday

First of all, congratulations to Teresa B., winner of It Happened One Christmas. Stay tuned for other guests and giveaways!

Here’s a blog that I originally posted on Dec 5, 2011. It (slightly altered) seemed perfect for today!

Stir Up Sunday is the Sunday before Advent begins, when, according to the Book of Common Prayer, the prayers begin:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord the wills of thy faithful people, that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Traditionally, the prayer read at Church was supposed to remind cooks that they should mix up their Christmas pudding.

This year Stir Up Sunday would have been on Nov 22, so I am a week late and my pudding will not be ready for Christmas. To us Americans, pudding is some chocolate or vanilla or banana custard-like dessert, but English pudding is a mixture of lots of different ingredients, including some grain product.

In the Regency, meats such as beef or veal could be added to sugar, raisins, sherry, lemon, orange, prunes (the dried plums that give plum pudding its name), cinnamon, cloves, brown bread, and such unfamiliar (to me) ingredients as cochineal (a food dye made from insects), suet, sack (a wine from the Canary Isles), hock (another wine), and treacle (a sugar syrup).

Into the mixture was stirred a coin (for wealth), a ring (for marriage) and a thimble (for blessedness. Each member of the family stirred the mixture and made a wish. The mixture was then boiled in a cloth for hours, and hung on a hook to dry until Christmas.

On Christmas day, the pudding was covered with warm brandy and set aflame, making it a dramatic and exciting addition to the Christmas dinner.

If you would like to make a Christmas pudding for your Christmas the Regency way, you are too late, because it has to age to get the best effect and flavor. But never fear! Modern technology comes to the rescue:

What special “pudding” (aka dessert) do you make for the holiday season?

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.

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2 Responses to Christmas Pudding or Omigosh I Missed Stir Up Sunday

  1. Elena Greene says:

    Cookies! There are some we do most years: Lithuanian honey spice cookies, Grasshopper Squares (mint and chocolate brownies), chocolate rollout cookies with marbled royal icing (you drag a toothpick through the icing to create designs). Some day my daughters and I would like to do the tradition of baking 12 different kinds.

  2. With our English family background, we DO try to always have plum pudding –the best we can purchase ready-made. My sister usually buys it, and is always in charge of flaming it. I secretly believe the real reason we have it is so she can play with the burning brandy! LOL. But I do like it, and it does add a nice dramatic flourish to the end of the meal.

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