“Stir Up Sunday” 2013! – UPDATES

The Collect from Holy Mass today in the traditional Roman Rite is:

Excita, quaesumus. Dómine, tuórum fidélium voluntátes: ut, divíni óperis fructum propénsius exsequéntes; pietátis tuæ remédia maióra percípiant.


Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that, seeking more eagerly the fruit of your divine work, they may find in greater measure the healing effects of your mercy.

I need a nap… but…

This is “Stir Up Sunday!”

It is time for me to get the 2013 Christmas Pudding underway.

But I really want that nap.

More later.


I am back from the shops.  I have obtained the ingredients.

However, I cannot find my very large stock pot in which I have in the past steamed the puddings.  Grrr.  These things don’t just grow legs and wander off down combox rabbit holes.


Okay… I have prepared the first two puddings.

I used small basins, because I can’t find the big pot.  When I do, I’ll make a bigger one.


My mise en place…


Sifting in the flour.


Adding the bread crumbs.



Paul: Stilgar, do we have wormsign?
Stilgar: Usul, we have wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen.


Adding the almonds and the chopped candied peel.


Omnibus permixtis, I am adding the currents.


Sugar.  Lots of sugar.


Chopped apple.


Time for the liquids.  Stout.  Rum. BARLEYWINE.

And eggs.  Yes, I use a graduated cylinder for my metric measurement of liquid.


Combining the dry and the wet.


Into the grease pudding basins.

When I filled these basins, I said a prayer for the wonderful readers here who sent them to me a couple years back.  I do not forget you.  I don’t remember your names, but the angels know you.  May God reward you for your kindness.  Whenever I use or enjoy something you send, I remember the kindness and that it was a gift… like everything I have.

Anyway… greased basin.


Ooops. Basins.


I wrapped them up and tied string about in order to make it easier to extract them from the pot in which I must steam them.

And just a glimpse of the PX4, newly cleaned.


Tomorrow I will steam.

It was fun to do this.  I haven’t been cooking.  It just wasn’t… there.

In the midst of the prep, I walked down the hall to the suite of the Monsignor (a PA!) who is my neighbor, and asked him to stir the pudding a few times.

Puddings should be shared.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z's Kitchen, Lighter fare and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Elizabeth D says:

    Speaking of merry olde England, a 16th c picture of King Henry VIII has been found in an old manor house, which if you turn it upside down is the face of the devil:

  2. Elizabeth: How appropriate!

    He was a monster.

  3. Margaret says:

    However, I cannot find my very large stock pot in which I have in the past steamed the puddings. Grrr. These things don’t just grow legs and wander off down combox rabbit holes.

    You’re scaring me, Fr. Z. I keep consoling myself with the thought that someday my garlic press, potato masher, meat thermometer, etc. would stop wandering off once the three-year-old grows out of his ridiculous phase.

  4. benedetta says:

    Yes! Will have to restock the brandy for feeding…

  5. Cantate says:

    Fr. Z: you are back from the shops? You have obtained the ingredients? WHAT? You shopped/conducted commerce on Sunday?

    [YES. I helped some people who need a job keep their job. And I was happy to do so.]

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    Elizabeth, that’s cool. I love stuff like that.

  7. dianecee says:

    Would love to hear more about your pudding, Father. Ole Henry VIII is in my family tree so we go wayyyyy back in England. After so many centuries of protestants, I jumped ship! :o)

  8. mamajen says:

    My British husband just looked over my shoulder, impressed. He wishes I would make some for him. I don’t like to eat it, but it does look like fun to make.

  9. mamajen: These are old world flavors, a whole different theory of food.

    I think we need to return to a food that is patient. Slow.

    Food is.. patient… food is… kind.

    The fragrance of the preparation was wonder… when I start steaming it, people will stop in just to smell it.

  10. mamajen says:

    Well, to be honest, the only kind I’ve ever tasted came in a plastic container from Marks and Spencer, sent through the post. I’ll have to add this to my Food and Drink Bucket List.

  11. Hank Igitur says:

    Your graduated cylinder for fluids looks like a brewer’s test jar (for checking specific gravity during fermentation).

  12. RafqasRoad says:

    Dear Fr. Z.,

    I consider the preparation of Christmas pudding and Christmas cake to be among the most pleasurable of culinary activities…The entire process is very special, meditative, truly delightful.

    You prepare your puddings without shortening? I would be very interested in your proper recipe measurements. Do you candy your own mixed peel?

    here is a recipe in return – give it a go if you have access to a good oven.

    Boiled Fruit Cake (Christmas Cake)

    250g butter
    1kg mixed dried fruit including sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed dried/candied peel, and an additional small package/75-120g glace cherries (please use the real thing and NOT the gelatine impostors!!)
    good slug golden syrup (corn syrup is not a good substitute; you can find golden syrup in English or Australian delies or via the Australian CSR website)
    good slug black treacle
    good slug proper malt extract (surup)
    half metric cup brown sugar
    generous slug brandy (the more the merrier)
    4 eggs
    3 metric cups flour
    a breakfast mug of decently brewed leaf tea (do the folk over at ‘Mystic Monk’ offer an equivalent to Ceylon Orange Pekoe, or Darjeling tea?)
    1tsp baking powder

    in a large saucepan, place your fruit.
    Pour over the freshly brewed hot leaf tea.
    Let fruit soak anywhere from an hour to overnight.
    Add butter, syrups, sugar, brandy and bring to the boil until butter is melted and mix is combined. boil for five minutes or so, stirring on a medium-low heat to prevent sticking.
    let sit in saucepan at room temperature overnight (with lid on). I have left it for up to a week in an Australian November unrefrigerated and its just fine). Add eggs, flour, baking powder and mixed spice straight into the saucepan; do not decant into a cake mixing bowl; you don’t need to. (I forgot to list this in the abovementioned ingredients).
    Add extra liquid if needed; a slug of brandy or water will do.

    Prepare an 8″ square cake tin thusly;

    Grease cake tin with butter or olive oil spray. Line with three layers of baking/silicon paper, spraying in between layers and spraying final layer (this stops the layers floating around and keeps everything tight, ready for the cake mix)
    Add cake mix
    knock out the air from the tin and let it sit for ten minutes or so. With the palm of your hand wet from tapwater, gently pat at the top of the cakemix, wetting it once or twice until the entire top has been gently wet. Over this, place a folded up piece of brown paper two or three layers thick, or even a lift-out section from a newspaper to cover the tin.
    Place into a 180 degree celcius oven, bringing the heat down to around 160 degrees celcius and cook until cake is ready; several hours depending on oven (3 to 4) and a knife or skewer comes out clean (though piercing through fruit may leave a little fruit residue). When done, let the cake still in its tin cool on a cooling rack. when it is completely cold, pierce the cake with a skewer several times and give it a quarter metric cup of brandy. Cover with towel or paper and let cool completely.

    when cold, gently remove from tin by flipping the whole thing over, knocking on the base, easing the cake out and gently peeling away the baking paper.

    to store:

    feed with brandy.
    Wrap in two layers of greaseproof paper, two layers of foil and a polythene bag tied at one end, the air squeezed out. This can be made six months ahead. if making in July, pull out in September, re-feed with brandy and re-wrap as above. flick off any white flecks with the tip of a knife before re-feeding. Repeat fleck removal (if necessary), feeding and re-wrapping in November. By Advent this cake should be ready. Christmas cake is not actually supposed to be eaten on Christmas day, but during advent, through the Christmas season right up to Epiphany. If folk are observing Advent fast, this cake is a lovely baked treat to serve guests who visit along with tea or coffee, even if one does not partake oneself. I use this recipe for Christmas pudding also, steaming mine in an aluminium snap-lid pudding basin given to me by a lovely elderly Anglican lady whose husband hosted the Bible study I attended when an Anglican, steamed in a large boiler saucepan saved by my brother in law from the scrap metal man off of a streetside junk cleanup.


    Aussie Maronite, soon to be South Coast Catholic.
    PS: came out to my (atheist) father about my Catholic conversion this afternoon – praise God he took it well and a conversation about newmann and Chesterton insued – turns out he’s familiar with the former and loves the writings of the latter – pray for him (‘N’) and his wife, my stepmother (‘S’) that they can come back to Christ and make the self same journey I made over two years ago now.

    thank you for your prayers, Fr. Z., and those who have been praying for my family on this blog. god is good!! Please keep praying, as I pray for you also.

  13. Joan M says:

    Doesn’t a Christmas Pudding (or, in fact, any steamed pudding) need suet? I didn’t see anything about you adding that. [Yes, there was suet in the paper cup.]

  14. Gosh Father, I really hope you find that big pot. I have a rarely used gigantimous Creuset pot, but when ya need it, ya really need it. If the pot was walked off, only another cook would appreciate such a thing.
    Glad to see you cooking again. Looks sooooo yummy.

  15. Jean Marie says:

    Yum! Any leftovers?

  16. jaykay says:

    Hmmm, chopped apple? I’ll start mine on next Sunday 1st December and I think I might use that – never have before. Otherwise, Fr., everything in your preparations is pretty much the same as mine, even down to the way of tying up the bowls! Also, I use raisins as well as currants. A lot of people here in Ireland would use whiskey but I use rum and stout only. I steam mine in a pressure cooker – it’s just that bit quicker, and then for about another hour on the day. And the distinctive smell of the preparations… always brings me right back!

  17. Elizabeth D says:

    It will be much better stirred by that wonderful holy and intelligent old priest.

  18. ocleirbj says:

    I’ve been baking Christmas fruitcakes this week, another long, slow, wonderfully-scented process. Since I have changed the recipe to use dried fruit rather than candied fruit, I add extra brandy to the overnight marinade to make sure it all gets properly moist and plump. Then before baking, I drain off any excess – it makes a lovely brandy-fruity syrup that I can pour over ice cream. A foretaste of heavenly things to come!

  19. ocleirbj says:

    @jaykay, if you add fresh apples to your recipe, they will cook down and add a little more liquid to the mix. You might need to adjust the amount of flour. But I’ve never made Christmas puddings, so I don’t know if this matters as much as it does in cakes. P.S. my late mother-in-law from Dundalk always used Guinness in her fruitcakes, which gave them a nice toasty brown colour as well as a slightly sharper taste. I wish I had her recipe!

  20. Mariana2 says:

    Yes, strange how even large implements manage to wander off….

    Apples sound like a great idea, but I’ve been diagnosed as gluten intolerant, howl yowl, so don’t know WHAT to stir up this year.

  21. Mariana2 says: gluten intolerant

    Delia has a version is that is gluten free.

  22. Andrew says:

    Erneum sic facito tamquam placentam. Eadem omnia indito, quae in placentam. Id permisceto in alveo, id indito in irneam fictilem, eam demittito in aulam aheneam aquae calidae plenam. Ita coquito ad ignem. Ubi coctum erit, irneam confringito, ita ponito. (Cato, de agricultura, 81)

    Erneum: “pudding”?

  23. NBW says:

    Father Z., where did you get the pudding bowls? Are they easy to find?

  24. NBW: They were sent to be by readers of this blog through my amazon.com wishlist!

  25. Mariana2 says:

    “Delia has a version is that is gluten free.”

    She has? Thank you, Father, I shall look that up pronto!

  26. Geoffrey says:

    I think it is fascinating that the new translation of The Roman Missal, Third Edition, has this collect prayer for this 34th Week in Ordinary Time:

    Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord,
    that, striving more eagerly
    to bring your divine work to fruitful completion,
    they may receive in greater measure
    the healing remedies your kindness bestows.
    Through our Lord…

    Granted, it is not used on Sunday, but nevertheless… :-)

  27. jaykay says:

    ocleirbj: your late mother-in-law (God rest her) and I have a town in common… :)

  28. Mario Bird says:

    Was that a Dune reference back there?

    If so, can we get a blog post about the David Lynch movie, and where it ranks in the “So Bad, It’s Good” pantheon of sci-fi movies?

    I realize this is a lot to ask, but the Communion prayer for the last few weeks has given me such audacity.

  29. Marc M says:

    Heh. I come across the Dune quote a few minutes after a friend sends me this: http://i.imgur.com/VCuNfLV.png

  30. Incaelo says:

    I’ve assembled most of my ingredients today (except for the suet, which the butcher had to order for me: I should have it tomorrow), and I’m looking forward to get crackin’.

    I’m also using Delia’s recipe, and I’ll also be using Guinness.

    Father Z, what spices are you using, exactly?

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