Stir Up Sunday Christmas Pudding Prep Report: Part I & II

It’s Stir Up Sunday and time to make a Christmas Pudding, perhaps even in the manner of Max himself!

The first pudding I will make (I may make several for gifts) will be from a recipe suggested in the combox under another entry.    I will probably make one or more smaller puddings using a different recipe, which it’s from Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It’s a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels.  I the idea of this recipe not only because of the Aubrey/Maturin books but also because it was given to me by a reader of this blog!

However, the first pudding to be made requires a two day process.  So, I start on Stir Up Sunday, since this is when the ingredients must be combined, but really early in the morning.  That way I will have time enough tomorrow for the steaming.

Start with a really large mixing bowl.


The apple – finely chopped – came from the tree near the chapel.

I stirred in several stages.


Zest from an orange and a lemon.


My good ol’ graduated cylinder helps when measuring in ml‘s.

75 ml of stout and of barleywine, each.


Do you know what barleywine is?


Mixing the beery liquid together, with a bit of rum and eggs.


Pouring it into the mix.


The consistency: loose.


I transferred it into a smaller bowl for its overnight rest.


The weight, minus the weight of the bowl… just over 3 lbs.


Back to the barleywine.  This was the stuff I used.


Since I only needed 75 ml of this… well… what to do… what to do…

Anyway, the pudding must rest over night.

In the next phase, it will be transferred to a greased basin, covered up, tied up, and steamed for 8 hours.

More later…. sleeeeeep.

UPDATE 21 Nov 0115 GMT:

Okay, after a rest of a few hours, I transferred the mix to the pudding basin.


I covered it with wrap and tied it down… which is the hardest part of the process, actually.


This year I created a handle for easier extraction at the end.


Into the kettle for steaming.  I have it propped up on tiny pyrex bowls.


Eight hours later…. this is what it looks like!


I let it cool and wrapped it up again.

The pudding is now in a covered wooden wine crate in the cellar.

The next time I see this, will be when I get it ready for the next round of steam before it is eaten!

How about your Christmas Puddings?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Yorkmum says:

    I too am making Delia’s recipe, though I have her actual recipe book (rather than online recipe) in which the quantities are doubled! I shall used it to make 2 or 3 puddings (depends which bowls I am willing to put out of action until christmas). I couldn’t find barley wine but use stout, rum and then make up the liquid with sherry, brandy (whatever I fancy) and it works well. I also use light brown soft sugar rather than dark brown and have never had a problem with final colour of the pudding. My breadcrumbs are usually a mix of white and wholemeal bread – I keep an ongoing supply in the fridge so I couldn’t say what proportion but probably more white.

    anyway, mine is currently resting and I’ll be cooking it later on today. I do cheat the steaming by using a pressure cooker which saves on time.

    I hope yours is delicious

    NB all descriptions of ingredients are UK English!

  2. Virgil says:

    But what about the delicious PEARLS OF LARD? A good pudding needs these fatty morsels that melt into the pudding after it sets, leaving holes that fill will sauce. Mmmmmm. . . . Where did you find yours? And do you have any tricks for them? I have never quite gotten it right. I think it’s because my butcher never gives me lard of the pearly kind.

  3. Beth says:

    Ugh! Stop it Father! you’re making me hungry! ;)

    Wonder if the holiness from the Mass rubbed off on those apples? So you can have a holy Christmas pudding.

  4. Genna says:

    It’s looking good.

  5. says:

    Looks fantastic, just as it should look! Just made mine; got the kids to stir and make a wish whereupon the two year old grabbed a whole handful of batter and ate it! Enjoy, and have a blessed Advent…

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Just curious. Are you putting the Guinness in the pud, or drinking it?

  7. wanda says:

    Oooh, that looks wonderful already. It’s like looking over your shoulder in the kitchen, Fr. Z.
    Now if only aromas could come through the interwebs! Thank you for sharing these culinary delights, Father. Blessed Stir-up Sunday to all.

  8. HighMass says:

    Father Z,

    If you send me your mailing address Will Send You a Panforte, homemade!

  9. Dan says:

    From Michael Comburne’s 18th Century treatise, “The Theory and Practice of Brewing”:

    “Wine is a brisk, agreeable, spirituous fluid cordial, formed from fermented vegtable bodies. In this sense beers and ales may be called, and really are, barley wines.”

    And, in the words of world-renowned beer writer Michael Jackson (not to be confused with the late pop star), “Like wine, beer is grown – it is an agricultural product. Perhaps the first known to civilization.”

    So, in essence barley wine just a more technical term for “beer.” For all practical purposes, however, we usually see the term “barley wine” associated with very high strength beers, like some of the Belgian Trappist ales. Rochefort 10 comes to mind…I believe that weighs in at a hefty 11% ABV.

    Father, have you ever posted on the “beer blessing”? I know the Latin refers to “this creature beer” …and when you consider the process of fermentation, especially in bottle conditioned or cask conditioned beers, it makes a lot of sense to think of beer as a “live” creature. I brought some Trappist beer to the sacristy after mass once and asked the priest to do perform the beer blessing…he had a hard time keeping a straight face as he read it!

  10. RichardT says:

    That looks good Father; hope it comes out well.

  11. Ryan Meeks says:

    Was that barleywine in particular more of the “hoppier” American variety (such as Sierra Nevada Bigfoot) or more a traditional, English type that is more malt forward? I have never had the barleywine pictured.

  12. MikeM says:

    Ryan Meeks,
    The barelywine he has in the picture up there is a 30th anniversary Sierra Nevada special offering. It’s hoppy in the usual Sierra Nevada style, but it’s a little more balanced than Bigfoot. It has a similar strong hoppy aftertaste, but on the way down, the malt is able to poke its way into the flavor profile. It’s pretty smoky, with noticeable dark chocolate flavor.

    I liked it, and I don’t really like Bigfoot.

  13. Genna says:

    That’s an ace colour and should get darker in storage. Like you, my Ma used to do half ‘n’ half stout and barley wine, with a little rum thrown in for good measure. With four robust appetites to satisfy she made half a bucket full of the mixture with 8 eggs. More than one hand was needed to wield the stirring spoon.
    I’m betting your pud will taste heavenly on the day.

  14. JimmyA says:

    My 4 year old daughter and I “stirred up” that same recipe yesterday. She greatly enjoyed helping to measure out and taste all the ingredients though I did of course call time on that when we got to the beer and the rum. We also enjoyed wrapping in tinfoil a Victorian silver threepence and silver sixpence and hiding them in the mixture for lucky finders on Christmas Day. She and her nanny now bear the awesome responsibility of seeing it through the steaming process while I work today.

  15. AnAmericanMother says:

    Advice please:
    Those of us who live in America with central heating don’t necessarily have a cool dry dark place to keep the pudding until Christmas.
    If I wrap it up well and put it in a tightly sealed metal container, I could put it in the crawlspace under the house — but there are spiders and crickets and sometimes even RATS down there. I’m also not sure if the pudding needs to “breathe” to some extent while resting.
    Or I could shut the registers down in an unused bedroom on the north end of the house, and that would stay fairly cool. But not as cool as an English spare room . . . :-D
    Or maybe just in the back of the fridge?

  16. APX says:

    Why is this Sunday stir up Sunday and next Sunday not either? Both collects start out with “stir up”??

  17. thereseb says:

    That looks amazing, Father. I hope you are pleased with the colour.

    Why not make some of her mincemeat as well with the leftover ingredients?

    I would recommend the car boot (sorry – automobile trunk) if you have one you don’t use too often, or only use for short journeys. I keep my turkey in this over Christmas as well. Otherwise – perhaps move an old secure filing cabinet into the garage. You are right to worry about rodents. One year the dog got my christmas cake. Another year it was the 4 year old boy. All critturs are driven mad by the smell.

  18. thereseb says:

    Sorry – the last paragraph is to Anamerican mother

  19. lgreen515 says:

    Mine looks just like yours, Father. I have it resting in a cupboard in the basement. I hope it will be cool enough down there.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    Thanks! I think the filing cabinet in the garage is a good bet, I even have a spare one.
    Both our vehicles are in daily use, and mine (a pickup truck – is there a British name? They are not really the same as a Utility Vehicle like a Land Rover) would be a BAD place to locate a pudding, since my dogs ride in the back and they would get it by hook or by crook. They are Labrador Retrievers, and even for Labs (as Kipling said about the crocodile, “the Belly that Runs on Four Feet”) they are very inventive and persistent about getting to anything edible.

  21. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    Sorry Fr. Z, but I think the pudding looks a little crummy and will not withstand another steaming. I recommend either eating it now or disposing of it.

  22. elaine says:

    You lost me at letting the raw egg mixture sit out on the counter for 8 hours. ;)

  23. RichardT says:

    Good to see the post-steaming pictures. The colour and consistency look excellent this year.

    Did you change the sugar you used from last time, or is the difference in colour due to something in this year’s more modern recipe rather than last year’s 18th century O’Brien recipe?

  24. RichardT says:

    AnAmericanMother – the English name for a pick-up truck is “one of those American things”.

  25. Flos Carmeli says:

    Where does one find candied citrus peel? And I have discovered after research that “sultanas” are also called “golden raisins”!

  26. James Joseph says:

    Barleywine is good.

    As both a brewer and a butcher.

    Fr. Z… I could in theory supply you with barleywine. Perhaps, you would like to learn a butchers knot. It makes tying a cinch… haha. [With both, you could tie one on.]

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