Stir-up Sunday recipes for the day we traditionally should start preparing our Christmas puddings

IT’S ‘Stir-up Sunday’ this weekend, a day where traditionally we should start to prepare the Christmas pudding for the forthcoming festive season.

This holiday tradition involves the creation and stirring of the Christmas pudding in order for it to mature.

According to custom, each member of the family should stir the Christmas pudding from East to West to remember the Wise Men that visited Jesus in the Nativity story, and make a wish as they do.

Old tradition states there should be thirteen ingredients in the pudding including raisins, currents, suet and brown sugar – symbolising Jesus and the 12 disciples.

It’s common to mix small objects into the pudding such as coins, thimbles and even rings!

If you fancy giving it a go, here are two delightfully delicious Christmas recipes to get your festive celebrations underway, thanks to Waitrose.


Classic Christmas pudding

To make this classic Christmas pudding, follow this easy recipe and step by step method.

In summary:

  1. Soak fruit in brandy overnight
  2. Mix all the ingredients together
  3. Place in bowl and steam for 6 hrs

Simple and delicious. Warmed through and set alight with brandy on Christmas day

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes + soaking overnight
  • Cooking time: 6 hours + 2 hours reheating
  • Total time: 6 hours 20 minutes + soaking overnight and 2 hours reheating
  • Serves: 12


300g mix of green and golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries and dried blueberries
100g currants
50g mixed peel
175ml brandy
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g fresh white breadcrumbs
175g dark brown muscovado sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Grated zest 1 lemon or orange
150g shredded vegetable suet
1 Bramley apple, peeled and coarsely grated
50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
3 medium free range eggs, beaten
Butter, for greasing


    1. Place the dried fruit and mixed peel in a large glass bowl. Pour over the brandy, mix well, cover and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, sugar, spices, citrus zest, suet, apple and almonds. Stir in the soaked fruit and any remaining juices. Add the beaten eggs and stir until well mixed.
    3. Lightly butter a 1.2-litre pudding basin and place a disc of baking parchment in the base. Spoon in the mixture, cover with 2 sheets of baking parchment topped with a double layer of foil and tie in place with string, making a handle for lifting.
    4. Place the pudding in a large saucepan and pour hot water halfway up the sides. Cover and steam for 6 hours, topping up with hot water from time to time.
    5. Lift the pudding basin from the pan and leave to cool completely. Remove the foil and baking parchment and cover with fresh sheets. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 weeks.
    6. To reheat, steam for 2 hours as before until piping hot, then invert the pudding onto a large plate to serve.

Cook’s tip

To flame the pudding for serving, warm 100ml brandy in a small saucepan but make sure you don’t allow it to boil. Pour it over the pudding and, keeping it at arm’s length, quickly ignite.


Martha Collison’s espresso martini Christmas pudding recipe

A fun, cocktail twist on a traditional festive favourite, this has a daunting cooking time, but is so simple to make, and once it’s steaming you can forget all about it and prepare the rest of your Christmas meal.

  • Vegetarian
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes + overnight steeping
  • Cooking time: 7 hours
  • Total time: 7 hours and 20 minutes + overnight steeping
  • Makes: 1 large pudding Serves: 8 – 10


175g sultanas
100g raisins
75g currants
50g dried figs, chopped
25g mixed peel
75g prunes, chopped
50g pitted medjool
dates, chopped
50ml Tia Maria or Kahlua
25ml vodka (plus about 125ml, to set alight)
50ml espresso coffee (from a coffee machine or powder)
3 medium free range eggs, beaten
125g vegetarian suet
175g dark muscovado sugar
125g fresh breadcrumbs
125g self-raising flour
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 eating apple, grated
1 tsp mixed spice

300ml double cream
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Mix all the dried fruits in a bowl and pour over the coffee liqueur and 25ml vodka. Stir together and then cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to steep for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Grease a plastic or glass heatproof 1.5-litre pudding basin (one with a lid works best) with butter and set to one side. Half fill a large saucepan with water and put on the boil with the lid on.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining pudding ingredients, except the vodka for lighting, until well mixed. Pour in the steeped fruit and all the liquid in the bottom of the bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Scrape the mixture into the greased pudding bowl and secure with a lid, then wrap the basin in foil. If you don’t have a basin with a lid, wrap the bowl in a double layer of foil. Place the pudding into the pan of water and steam for 4 hours. Be sure to top up the water regularly to stop the pan boiling dry.
  5. When the pudding has steamed for 4 hours, remove from the pan and carefully unwrap. Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready to eat – the pudding will keep for up to 6 weeks and will improve over time.
  6. On the day, rewrap the pudding in foil and steam in the same way for a further 3 hours. Turn out onto a serving plate. Warm the vodka in a small saucepan or in the microwave, pour over the pudding and light to flambé.
  7. To make the cream, mix the coffee granules with 2 teaspoons boiling water to make a paste and add it to the cream. Stir in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Serve with the pudding.

Recipe and image courtesy of Waitrose & Partners and Martha Collison, Martha’s most recent book is CRAVE, published by HarperCollins.