Starre Corner Stir Up Sunday Gluten Free/Vegetarian Christmas Pudding – the slow cooker method
Christmas would not be complete in Starre Corner without homemade Christmas pudding. In fact if I didn’t make it each year my husband would probably cite it as grounds for divorce – he’s my greatest Christmas pudding fan.
After testing many recipes out in the past I have settled with a recipe based on a Betty’s of Harrogate Christmas pudding recipe. I discovered it in a magazine years and years ago and after much pudding making, tasting and pontificating it was crowned the worthy winner. Year after year my family are never disappointed. It’s so popular with my loved ones that I now end up making three; one for home, one for my mum and dad’s Christmas feast and the final one replaces a traditional birthday cake for my husband’s Valentines birthday. My children tell me that I can add two more to the list when they leave home. It’s that good.
Although Christmas pudding making is not difficult I find preparation is key; there are quite a few ingredients to ensure you have in your pantry (traditionally there were twelve ingredients in a Christmas pudding to represent Jesus and his disciples). It has been know for me to miss out an ingredient or two when I wasn’t totally prepared. Now I measure out all the ingredients in advance and double check just to make sure.
At Starre Corner I like to make my Christmas pudding really early – I have been known to make them in September in the past but normally it’s late October/early November. The nearer to Christmas it gets the more hectic life becomes so I like to have it safely stored in my pantry before festive seasonal merrymaking begins, safe in the knowledge that my Christmas Day feast is planned and totally under control. Many people however stick to the age-old tradition of Stir Up Sunday dating back to Victorian times of home bakers spending the last Sunday before Advent with their family ‘stirring up’ their Christmas pudding. Each member of the family has a stir and makes a wish.
How to make a Starre Corner Christmas Pudding (vegetarian and gluten free)
Ingredients & Method
Mix of all the ingredients in a bowl and cover with a clean cloth and leave over night
13oz / 360g Good quality mixed fruit
2oz / 50g Glace cherries – halved
1/2oz / 15g Flaked almonds
Zest and of 1 orange and juice of ½
Zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½
Very generous splash of brandy
The next day: day two – prepare a 1 ½ pint pudding bowl by cutting out a grease proof paper disk the size of the top of the pudding bowl . Traditional ceramic pudding bowls can be used but I find reusable lidded plastic pudding bowls easier to use in a slow cooker. If you are using a traditional ceramic pudding bowl cut a disc for the base too.
Gently mix all the remaining ingredients into the brandy soaked fruit:
2oz/50g Vegetable suet (palm oil free vegetable suet is available online)
1oz/25g gluten free breadcrumbs (top tip – make breadcrumbs and freeze any leftover stale bread throughout the year)
2oz/50g Gluten free plain flour
3oz /85g Light brown sugar
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
3 medium eggs, beaten (2 eggs if you are not using gluten free flour)
½ tsp salt
Once all the ingredients are combined fill the 1 ½ pint pudding bowl, smooth the top and place parchment on top. If you are using a plastic pudding bowl place lid on top and cover bowl.
Place pudding bowl in a slow cooker and add water to slow cooker pan until the water is approximately two thirds of the way up the side of the pudding bowl. Cover with slow cooker lid and on a medium setting cook for 5-6 hours, ensuring that the water retains a similar level and top up if necessary.
Once cooked remove from slow cooker and allow to completely cool. Once completely cool wipe down the pudding bowl and wrap in either a muslin cloth, tea towel or kitchen and store in a cool dry pantry until Christmas. If you’re like me you may like to feed your pudding with brandy now and again to give it a little bit more punch (tasty but not essential)
Watch me make this recipe on You Tube by clicking here https://youtu.be/Aw6CBCIz0f8