The final Sunday before Advent – that's November 21 this year – is traditionally known as Stir-up Sunday, the day when the family comes together to make the Christmas pudding. Starting with the youngest, each member of the family should stir the ingredients from east to west and when you come to eat it, try to remember if you added a coin – it'll put a damper on the day on granny chokes on a 20p.

This recipe is by former MasterChef champion Simon Wood whose Wood Restaurant is a highlight of Manchester’s culinary scene. He said: ‘This pudding can be made as close to Christmas as three weeks, but the longer you leave it the better.’

Great British Life: Simon Wood in his Manchester kitchenSimon Wood in his Manchester kitchen (Image: Archant)


170g Atora shredded veg suet, 40g Chopped candied orange peel, Zest of one large orange, 40g chopped hazelnuts, 1 Bramley apple grated, 2 tablespoons rum, 2 large eggs, 50g self-raising flour, 110g white breadcrumbs, 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice, ¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, ¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon, 20ml lemon juice, 225g muscovado sugar,400g sultanas, 110g raisins, 150ml spiced dark rum, 50g chopped glace maraschino cherries, 50g salted butter


  • Take two mixing bowls, one large and one small, around 1 litre in capacity. Put all your dry ingredients in the large bowl and mix all your wet ingredients in the small bowl

  • Use a kitchen mixer or a large spoon to beat the ingredients together

  • Next, grease a medium bowl with salted butter, you can use two of the one litre bowls if you like. Cover with parchment and secure the top of the bowls, firstly with cling film and then a sheet of foil

  • Take a large saucepan or two and add in water, and a small saucer to keep the bowl from touching the bottom. Simmer and steam for eight hours, making sure the pan never boils dry

  • Now let the pudding cool and replace the parchment, cling film and finally a sheet of foil to tuck it in nicely before storing in the cupboard ready for Christmas Day

On Christmas Day:

  • Fill a saucepan with boiling water and a saucepan in the bottom, the same as when you made the pudding, put it on the heat and then place the pudding in the pan. Cover and leave to steam for 1hour 30 mins

  • You'll need to check the water as before and maybe top it up a bit when it needs it

  • When you are ready to serve the pudding, remove from the steamer and take off the wrapping

  • Slide a butter knife all around the pudding and turn it out on to a plate

  • Now add good helping of brandy over the top and carefully set light to the brandy using a match

  • Serve with brandy butter, cream or custard