Though historians can’t agree on just when the pudding became so popular, Prince Albert in the 19th Century helped make it a regular addition at the table, after declaring it a favourite of his for Christmas.
Christmas pudding would traditionally contain 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples and as the pudding became a staple over the years, different traditions kicked in, including when a pudding should start being made.
If you want to make your own, when should you make a start on your Christmas pudding?
When to start making a Christmas Pudding
Most Christmas Pudding recipes will require starting a few weeks before Christmas, usually between four and six weeks ahead of the actual day.
Christmas puddings and fruit cakes benefit from being made way in advance because it allows the flavours to intensify and the colour deepen over time.
Making the cake earlier also allows more regular ‘feeding’ of the cake – where you will intermittently add brandy or rum, should you choose.
Feeding the cake adds flavour and doing it in regular intervals means you won’t drown the recipe. Adding a spoonful of brandy or rum once a week for 4 or 5 weeks is a standard instruction.
You can still turn around a respectable Christmas cake or pudding with less than four to six weeks preparation, but historically the work begins on the last Sunday in November, otherwise known as Stir Up Sunday.
Why is it called Stir-Up Sunday?
The last Sunday of November is when Christmas Pudding prep traditionally begins.
Dating back to Victorian times in Britain, Stir Up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before Advent – the countdown to the arrival of Christ, and where we get the name for Advent calendars.
Stir-up Sunday is connected to a bible passage read to churchgoers: ‘stir up; we beseech thee, O Lord.’
The family would leave church to go home and teach the children how to stir up the ingredients for the pudding.