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This Sunday is not just any old Sunday
Sunday 22 November (otherwise known as Stir-up Sunday) is where it all begins. It’s the last one before Advent and the traditional time to stir a bowlful of dried fruit goodness, suet and spices, make a wish, and embrace the start of the festive season.
Here’s how to make the ultimate Christmas pud.
Time: 15 min to make plus soaking overnight plus 3 hr cooking plus 45 min reheating
You will need
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped 150g raisins or sultanas 200g stoned dates, finely chopped 50g glacé cherries, halved 50g candied ginger, roughly chopped 50g luxury mixed candied peel, roughly chopped 50g fresh white breadcrumbs Grated zest and juice of 1 orange 100ml rum 75g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 75g dark muscovado sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten 75g self-raising flour, sifted 1tsp mixed spice 1tsp ground cinnamon 100g blanched almonds, roughly chopped Fresh currants and icing sugar, to garnish
1. Soak the dried fruit and breadcrumbs overnight in a large bowl with the orange zest and juice, and the rum.
2.The following day, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the egg, a little at a time, until combined. Fold in the soaked fruit and remaining ingredients.
3. Lightly butter a 1ltr (1¾pt) pudding basin and fill with the prepared mixture. Cover with a double layer of buttered foil, making a pleat in the centre to allow for the pudding to rise. Tie string tightly around the rim of the basin to secure the foil.
4. Place in a saucepan and pour in the water so that it comes halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 3 hr. If necessary, top up the water during cooking. Remove the pan from the heat and leave uncovered for 15min. When cool enough to handle, remove the foil and cool on a wire rack. Cover with clingfilm and chill for up to a month.
5. To reheat, cover with foil and steam for 45 min, or cover with clingfilm and microwave on full power for 5 min. Turn out and garnish with holly, fresh currants and icing sugar. Serve with brandy butter, custard or cream.