Stir-up Sunday is a fun (and very tasty) Christmas tradition - taking place on the last Sunday before Advent when families would take turns to stir the Christmas pudding mix and make a wish for the coming year. It's a great excuse to get baking with the family - and making lots more Christmas treats besides the pud - ready for your festive visitors or party tables. Here's a batch of tips for Christmas cakes and mince pies to help you prepare for a delicious December.

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Making Christmas Pudding On Stir Up Sunday

If you don't already bake on Stir Up Sunday, this is the year to start. It's a great family tradition to gather round and mix up delicious festive ingredients for a sweet and moreish pudding.

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You'll need:

  • 150g currants
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 150ml dark rum
  • 100g glacé cherries, halved
  • 25g blanched almonds
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1 medium orange, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 125g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 100g vegetable fat, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • ¼ tsp salt

View the recipe and instructions here >>

 

Top Mince Pie Tips

  1. Leave a few with their tops off for those who prefer pies with less pastry.
  2. Always use a larger cutter for the base than you do for the 'lid' - one size up should work well.
  3. Cut out some pastry initials to put on top of each pie - to make little Christmas buffet favours. 
  4. Remember the icing sugar - extra 'snow' really adds to the festive feel.
  5. Try different variations to stir things up for Christmas 2018...

Orange-flavoured with meringue

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Mix the mincemeat with the zest of 1 orange, finely grated, and 2 tbsp orange liqueur. While the pies cool, whisk 2 egg whites until stiff, gradually whisk in 130g caster sugar to form a meringue. Spoon onto each pie and return to the oven for 3-5 minutes until the top starts to colour. Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar.

Choc chip & brandy butter pies

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Mix 100g dark chocolate chips into the mincemeat. For the brandy butter, cream 100g butter until fluffy and gradually beat in 300g icing sugar. Beat in 2 tbsp brandy and spoon the mix into a piping bag with a 1cm star nozzle. Once the pies are cooled, pipe on a swirl of brandy butter and decorate with silver balls.

Crunchy nut topping

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Leave the mince pies uncovered. Sift 70g plain flour and a pinch of ground cinnamon into a bowl and rub in 40g butter using your fingertips until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 30g demerara sugar, 25g pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped, and 25g pecan nuts, chopped. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of each pie, bake and allow to cool.

Did you know...
According to Whychristmas.com Mince Pies originally baked with a meat filling, and cut into an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby.

Top Christmas Cake Tips

  1. Don’t wrap a cake in tin foil, as this can react with the fruit. Use baking parchment instead.
  2. Remember to soak your fruit in alcohol (like rum or brandy) or fruit juice for 12 hours before you start.
  3. Keep 'feeding' your cake every week or so until Christmas - find out more here.
  4. Wrap your baking tin in paper, and place greaseproof paper on the top too, to ensure your cake doesn’t over cook
  5. For an alternative twist, try soaking your fruit in Earl Grey tea instead of Alcohol
  6. Once baked, leave your cake in a switched off oven to allow it to cool more slowly

    Fruit Cakes can be stored in the freezer for up to a year

  7. Use Apricot Jam to get your Marzipan to stick to your Cake
  8. Marzipan and icing can make great decorations too – try making stars 

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  9. Christmas Cakes make an ideal gift – bake extra and be prepared for any unexpected Christmas visitors
  10. Make mini Christmas cakes and ask your children to decorate them – then gift them to teachers as an end of term treat

Icing Tip:
1 pack of Dr. Oetker Marzipan (Ready to Roll 454g or Ready Rolled 400g) will cover a 7” round cake or a 6” square cake. A pack of Dr. Oetker Icing (Ready Rolled 450g) will cover an 8” round cake or a 7” square cake, and a pack of Dr. Oetker Icing (Ready to Roll 1kg) will cover a 10” round cake or a 9” square cake