Stir-Up Sunday - here's our recipe for Christmas pud!

Sarah Johnstone
Friday, 23rd November 2012

This Sunday is traditionally Stir-up Sunday. It's a great opportunity to get the whole family in the kitchen to make the Xmas pudding, take turns to stir the mix and make a wish.

This recipe is sugar free and suitable for vegetarians. If you have a wheat intolerance use a gluten free bread for the crumbs.


Serves 10 – 15

175g raisins
175g sultanas
175g currants
75g chopped cherries
175g pitted ready- to-eat prunes
175g dried apricots
75g chopped almonds
250g fresh breadcrumbs
250g shredded vegetarian suet
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 eggs (medium size)
150ml stout
3 tablespoons brandy, rum or whisky
Butter for greasing the pudding basins


Put the dried fruit, almonds, breadcrumbs, suet and spices into a large bowl and mix together. Whisk the eggs until fluffy and thickened then stir into the dried ingredients. Stir in the stout and spirit, adding enough to make a 'dropping' consistency.

It's now time for everyone to take a turn to stir the mix and make a wish.

Grease a 1 litre and a 0.5 litre pudding basin. Spoon the mixture into the basins smoothing the tops. Cover each with a double layer of greaseproof paper. On top of this place a layer of foil. Secure all three layers by tying string around the rim.

Steam the large pudding for 6 hours, and the smaller one for 4-5 hours, using one of the options below.

Cooking Options

  • On the cooker top – fill a pan with water, bring to a simmer and then place the pudding basins, inside a steamer pan, on top. Ensure you keep the water topped up, or it will boild dry!

  • As above but on a trivet instead of in a steamer pan

  • In a slow cooker - just pour boiling water around the basin

  • In Mr D's thermal cooker - this modern hay box uses up to 80% less energy. John tried this last year, see his review here. 

  • In a bain marie in the oven - place the pudding basin in a large roasting tray of water and place in the oven at 160°C, using the same cooking times as above. Make sure you keep it topped with water

Store the cooled puddings in a cool dark place until Christmas. When re-heating replace the greaseproof and foil with clean layers and re-steam for about an hour before serving.


Halve the quantities if you are catering for smaller numbers, and downsize the basin size accordingly.

Alternatively, make a bulk batch and they can be frozen for up to a year – or less, if you just can't wait round until next Christmas!! 

Sarah Johnstone is the subscriptions manager at Permaculture Magazine. She regulalry brings delicious foodie treats in to work to keep us all going!