It’s ‘Stir Up Sunday’ on November 25th 2018, which is held each year on the last Sunday before Advent. It marks the day when, traditionally, families would come together and all create the pudding mixture and take turns to give it a stir! It’s a lovely way to mark the start of the Christmas festivities and get everyone together in the kitchen. There are lots of ingredients in a Christmas pudding so everyone should get their fair share of stirring and adding the ingredients, minimising any squabbling between children involved 😉
The recipe usually calls for suet but as this is made without any animal products, I have swapped the suet for coconut oil. Coconut oil has quite a distinctive taste so use the refined version if you would prefer it not to have a hint of coconut in the flavour. I really love the sweet taste of coconut the oil gives so I used the unrefined version for this recipe. You could also use a vegetable-based spread in place of the coconut oil, but again, I prefer the unrefined coconut oil as it is less processed and is a completely natural fat with some health benefit too.
Some recipes call for the dried fruit to be soaked overnight to the steaming of the pudding. You can do this if you wish but I have found the steaming alone provides enough time to all the dried fruit to soak up any moisture in the pudding and plump up nicely and therefore, I do not suggest pre-soaking in the instructions.
I do, however, soak the nuts prior to using as this activates them. The water used to soak the nuts should be drained away before you use them in the recipe.
I chose to make this pudding free of alcohol for guests who prefer not to drink. You could make a separate Brandy Sauce to pour over the pudding when serving so that people have an option. It does taste beautifully rich with brandy or rum in it but I hope when you taste this recipe, you’ll agree it doesn’t need anything else adding! Apart from a glug of creamy custard 😉
Christmas Pudding does seem to be one of those marmite dishes (you either love it or you don’t!) so I’ve always found, year after year, the pudding only gets half eaten. I’ve come up with 2 ways to resolve this; 1. Make a smaller pudding and 2. Use any leftovers in a tall glass served with coconut cream and fruit compote, piled high like a Christmas Sundae!
I have separated the ingredients into groups as there are a lot of ingredients and I find it much more helpful when long lists of ingredients are grouped together instead of being in such a long list – maybe I have a short attention span (!) but I have spoken to lots of people who say the first thing to put them off a recipe is a huge, great big long ingredient list! So I think it helps psychologically having them like this! I hope you find it helpful too!
I have used molasses instead of brown sugar because it gives such a deep, luxurious taste which is absolutely perfect for Christmas pudding!
Get busy in the kitchen this ‘Stir Up Sunday’ and start a family tradition, all taking turns to stir up the wonderful Christmas scents and flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed spice with all the sweet mixed fruits and nuts!
Put on some Christmas tunes and let’s start the Christmas festivities!
Enjoy! Joanne x
- I used a 16cm width x 9cm height bowl for this recipe.
- As this recipe does not contain alcohol, it will only last up to 5 days in your fridge, so if you are making it on stir up Sunday, store it in the freezer and take it out 1 day before you plan to eat it and let it defrost in the fridge. You can reheat it by steaming it again in the same way as below for 1 hour or serve at room temperature with hot custard as an alternative.
- This pudding has been drizzled in a little pure Maple syrup simply to add an attractive glaze but it is not essential for serving.
- You can buy dried fruit and peel mixes in large bags so you do not have to buy separate ingredients. I used the mix in this recipe, but if you do not have the mixed bag, you can create your own mixture by using raisins, dried cranberries, dates, cherries and mixed peel.
Traditional Christmas Pudding (with activated nuts & a vegan twist)
- 400 g Dried fruit and mixed peel see notes above
- 140 g activated nuts, blitzed to a fine crumb to activate your nuts, simply soak them in water over night, rinse and drain before processing to a chunky texture in your food processor
Fruit Juice & Zest
- 1/2 juice & zest orange
- 1 apple
- 1 zest only lemon
- 175 g molasses - granulated do not sub for the syrup as it will be far too strong. Sub for Dark Brown Muscovado sugar if you cannot find granulated molasses
- 1 tbsp molasses - syrup
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
Breadcrumbs & Flour
- 50 g breadcrumbs I used sourdough for extra goodness
- 100 g wholemeal self raising flour
Fats, Gelling & Liquid
- 130 g coconut oil melted
- 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
- 150 mls plantbased milk I used oat - make your own byt whizzing 1 heaped tbsp oats in your blender with 150mls water
Fill a kettle and turn on to boil. You wil need 1 large mixing bowl, a pudding bowl (size 16cmwidth x 9cm height), 2 lengths of string and a large pan.
Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
Add the mixture to your pudding bowl (16cm width x 9cm height) and press down to remove any air bubbles.
Create a cover by tearing 2 equal sized pieces of greaseproof paper and create a pleat fold down the middle. Place this over the bowl.
Now do the same with a piece of foil - create a pleat fold then place it on top of the greaseproof paper.
Secure the cover you have created with a piece of string around the top of the bowl and a 2nd piece of string coming from under the bowl and tied on top to create a handle for lowering and lifting the pudding before and after steaming.
In a large pan, place an upturned pan lid in the bottom, then place the pudding bowl on top of the lid ensuring it is well balanced.
Now carefully pour in the boiled water from the kettle until it comes halfway up the bowl.
Place the lid on the pan (not too securely).
Turn the heat on the lowest setting possible. It will need to steam for 4 hours.
Check the water level during the steaming time. I did not need to add any more water during the 4 hours but your lowest heat setting may be higher than mine which will evaporate the water more quickly. Just top it up with a glass of water if needed.
After 4 hours, your pudding will be nicely steamed. Turn off the heat and remove the pudding by lifting with the handle you made from string.
Leave it to cool on a heat proof pad or plate. Once it is cooled, it is ready to be removed from the pudding bowl. Gently ease it out with a pallet knife or similar.
Serve warm with brandy-infused coconut cream or vegan custard.