Stir-up Sunday: School Food Matters shares amazing recipe

22 November 2021
If you forgot to prep your Christmas pudding on Stir-up Sunday, fear not. There’s still time and our food teacher Sharon has got you covered.

Below, she has kindly shared the tried-and-tested recipe she turns to each year to complete a magical festive celebration.

What is Stir-up Sunday?

Stir-up Sunday - a tradition that dates to the Victorian times – is an opportunity for families to gather together to stir the Christmas pudding five weeks before Christmas day.

Conventionally, parents would teach children how to mix the ingredients for the pudding, with each person taking a turn to stir for good luck.

The pudding would also traditionally contain 13 ingredients (to represent Jesus and his disciples) and be mixed from East to West in honour of the three wise men. Coins were also added to the pudding to bring good luck to whoever finds them on their plate, with this also featuring in the recipe below.

Preparing the pudding weeks in advance ensures there’s enough time for it to mature, before it’s reheated on Christmas day. This year, Stir-up Sunday, which serves as a useful reminder, fell on 21st November, but there is still time to get your hands dirty.


110g dried apple, chopped

110g dried apricots, chopped

110g dried figs, chopped

110g dried pitted prunes, chopped

225g raisins

225g sultanas

110g currants

55g chopped candied orange peel

290ml cold tea

120ml brandy or rum or medium sherry

1 large banana, mashed

225g grated carrot

30g chopped hazelnuts

30g ground almonds

3 eggs

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

Pinch of grated nutmeg

85g plain flour

170g fresh brown breadcrumbs


Put all the dried fruit and candied peel into a medium bowl and pour over the cold tea and the brandy, rum or sherry. Mix well and leave to soak for at least 24 hours or up to one week.

When the fruit has soaked add the mashed banana, carrot, and nuts and mix together. Beat the eggs with the honey and stir into the bowl. Sift in the flour and spices, add the breadcrumbs, and stir the pudding mixture thoroughly.

Divide the mixture between 2 x 1 litre pudding basins. Cover the top of each with two layers of greaseproof paper and a piece of foil overlapping the sides. Secure the overhanging paper and foil around the bowl tightly with a piece of string.

To steam, use two large saucepans with lids, place a pudding in each and add approximately 10cm (depth) of boiling water to come a quarter of the way up the side of each basin. Steam for six hours on a gentle simmer, keeping an eye on the water level and topping it up with boiling water when necessary. 

Leave to cool. The pudding can be frozen or kept covered in a cupboard for up to one year.

To reheat on the day, steam for about two hours or heat in a microwave.