First of all, congratulations to Teresa B., winner of It Happened One Christmas. Stay tuned for other guests and giveaways!
Stir Up Sunday is the Sunday before Advent begins, when, according to the Book of Common Prayer, the prayers begin:
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord the wills of thy faithful people, that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Traditionally, the prayer read at Church was supposed to remind cooks that they should mix up their Christmas pudding.
This year Stir Up Sunday would have been on Nov 22, so I am a week late and my pudding will not be ready for Christmas. To us Americans, pudding is some chocolate or vanilla or banana custard-like dessert, but English pudding is a mixture of lots of different ingredients, including some grain product.
In the Regency, meats such as beef or veal could be added to sugar, raisins, sherry, lemon, orange, prunes (the dried plums that give plum pudding its name), cinnamon, cloves, brown bread, and such unfamiliar (to me) ingredients as cochineal (a food dye made from insects), suet, sack (a wine from the Canary Isles), hock (another wine), and treacle (a sugar syrup).
Into the mixture was stirred a coin (for wealth), a ring (for marriage) and a thimble (for blessedness. Each member of the family stirred the mixture and made a wish. The mixture was then boiled in a cloth for hours, and hung on a hook to dry until Christmas.
On Christmas day, the pudding was covered with warm brandy and set aflame, making it a dramatic and exciting addition to the Christmas dinner.
If you would like to make a Christmas pudding for your Christmas the Regency way, you are too late, because it has to age to get the best effect and flavor. But never fear! Modern technology comes to the rescue:
What special “pudding” (aka dessert) do you make for the holiday season?