Stir-up-Sunday

Stir up Sunday, the Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s Day (30th November), is traditionally the day on which Christmas Puddings are made.  Personally I like to give my puddings longer to mature, but Stir up Sunday is a good time to make mincemeat and, if you haven’t already done so, your Christmas Cake.

CHRISTMAS CAKE

Makes an 8″ round, or 7″ square, cake

4 oz natural glace cherries

4 oz candied peel, chopped

8 oz currants

8 oz sultanas

8 oz raisins

4 oz prunes

8 oz plain flour

good pinch of salt

4 eggs

8 oz butter

1 teasp. mixed spice

8 oz muscovado sugar

2 oz Pedro Ximenez sherry or brandy

Rinse the sugary coating from the cherries, cut into quarters and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the fruit and peel, pour over the sherry, stir and leave covered overnight for the fruit to swell.

Grease and line the tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar. Sieve the flour, salt and mixed spice. Beat the eggs.

Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, a bit at a time, mixing well after each addition and adding a little of the flour with the last addition. Fold in the rest of the flour and then the fruit.

Put into the prepared tin and tie brown paper around the outside of the tin.  Bake at150°C for an hour then turn the oven down to 140°C for a further 2½ hours.  (If you are using a fan oven reduce the temperatures by 10°C but do not use the fan if you have the choice).  You may need to cover the cake with brown paper during the last hour to prevent the top becoming too brown.

When the cake is cool make holes in the bottom with a skewer and pour over another couple of tablespoons of sherry.  Feed the cake with sherry again once a month during storage.

MINCEMEAT

Makes 4½-5 lb

½ lb cooking apples, minced or coarsely grated

½ lb currants

½ lb raisins

½ lb sultanas

4 oz natural glace cherries

4 oz chopped peel

4 oz shelled walnuts

8 oz shredded suet

1 lb demerara sugar

2 level tsps mixed spice

3- 4 fl oz brandy

Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, cover and leave for 2 days, stirring twice a day. Put into clean jars. If you are intending to keep the mincemeat for a long time seal them as you would jam.

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