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Christmas pudding with holly on top

Everything you need for Stir-up Sunday

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Published: October 25, 2021 at 3:30 pm
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We've rounded up everything you need to know about Stir-up Sunday: from the best pudding basin, to brandy for flambéing and festive oven gloves to serve up in style

This year, Stir-up Sunday falls on Sunday 21 November. If you want to embrace the day and make your own pud, we've gathered everything you need for the day: from the ultimate Christmas pudding recipe to all the equipment you need, including the all-important pudding basin.

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What is Stir-up Sunday?

Stir-up Sunday is the name given to the last Sunday before Advent, five weeks before Christmas. The name comes from The Book of Common Prayer, where the collect read in Anglican churches for that Sunday includes the phrase 'Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people'. Nowadays, the stirring is associated with the best time to make your Christmas pudding, giving it time to mature before Christmas Day.

What are the traditions of Stir-up Sunday?

The history of Stir-up Sunday involves several unusual traditions. Some people hide a coin, small crown or silver ring in the pudding, and whoever finds it on Christmas Day gets good luck. In the spirit of 'Stir-up', each member of the household gets a chance to stir the mixture and make a wish while stirring. Stirring should also be done from east to west, to reflect the journey of the Wise Men in the Nativity story. Finally, some people believe the pudding should have 13 ingredients, to reflect Jesus and the 12 disciples.

What should you make on Stir-up Sunday?

Cranberry, maple & pecan pudding

We've got all the pudding recipes you need to choose from for Stir-up Sunday. Our classic Christmas pudding recipe makes two puddings and is filled with raisins, almonds, candied peel and brandy. Fancy something a bit different this year? This mandarin-in-the-middle twist bakes a whole fruit in the centre of the pud for bags of citrus flavour, or try this sticky ginger, treacle and Guinness pudding recipe. If you're catering for dietary requirements, we have a vegan classic Christmas pud or an American-inspired cranberry, maple and pecan pudding that is both gluten- and dairy-free.

The equipment

Pudding basin

Mason Cash Heritage Collection Pudding Basin

The first step to making Christmas pudding is finding the best pudding basin for you. We’ve reviewed a selection of the best and love this classic Mason Cash ceramic basin, big enough to make a pudding for four, and there's a handy lip that makes sealing the pudding while it steams simple. Not just for Christmas, use your basin all year round for sticky steamed sponge puddings or an old-school steak & kidney pudding.

Mixing bowl

VonShef set of three mixing bowls

Make sure you’ve got room to stir with a generous, sturdy mixing bowl that can hold all the fruit and cake mixture. Our round-up of the best mixing bowls to find the best one for you – from a practical nesting 3-piece metal set to a classic stoneware bowl.

Scales

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Christmas pudding can have a lengthy ingredients list with plenty of fruit, nuts, spices and dry ingredients to mix together. An accurate set of scales makes this easy: our best kitchen scales for mixing have you sorted.

Spatula

Dreamfarm chopula spatula

Don’t waste a drop of your precious Christmas pudding mixture! We’ve found the best spatulas to stir up your mixture because as the name of the day would suggest, stirring is especially important when making your pud. Traditionally, each member of the family would take turns stirring the mixture from East to West, reflecting how the Wise Men visited Jesus in the Nativity.

This versatile Dreamfarm model will get into every corner of the bowl, comes in plenty of colours and is angled with a built-in counter rest.

Stir-Up Sunday added extras

Fortnum’s Christmas pudding oven glove

Fortnum oven glove

Get in the festive spirit with this eye-catching oven glove from Fortnum and Mason, decorated with extravagant puddings of every size and style. There’s a matching tea towel too that would make a great gift, especially if you’re making one for friends or family.

Brandy

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If you want to flambé your Christmas pudding for a showstopping effect on Christmas Day, don’t forget to stock up on brandy. Our experts taste-tested the best brandy, including Armagnac, calvados and cognac. Some of these bottles are seriously special, so you’ll want to make the most of them all year round – a little goes a long way for flambéing!

Not got time this year?

Waitrose No.1 Christmas pudding, 12-month matured

The best Christmas pudding was a hotly contested category in our BBC Good Food Christmas Supermarket Awards 2021. If you don’t have time to make your own this year, pick up one of our two joint winners: the M&S Collection Golden Blond Christmas Pudding with a decadent blond chocolate sauce, or a classic 12-month matured Waitrose No.1 Christmas pudding for the traditionalists.

Related Christmas recipe collections:

Stir-up Sunday recipes
Christmas menu ideas
Make-ahead Christmas recipes
Freezeable Christmas recipes
Christmas baking recipes
Mincemeat recipes

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Christmas gift guides:

The 50 best gifts to buy for foodies
50 best sustainable gifts: eco-friendly gift guide
Best novelty Christmas decorations and quirky baubles
Best Christmas crackers for 2021
The best Christmas cookie cutters for gingerbread and more
The best kids' gift ideas for 2021

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