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Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Christmas Pudding - Stir-Up Sunday

    I always make the Ultimate Christmas Pudding for my family on Christmas day and they LOVE it. So this year I want to make smaller ones to give as Christmas presents to the family members we won't be seeing. Probably in 1lb sizes or smaller. I just wondered about the time they would require to be steamed for on day of making and on Christmas day. Because I'm sure that the 5hrs initially plus 3 hrs on Christmas day would be far to much for smaller ones. Many Thanks.

    From the nigella team:

    Stir-Up Sunday (25th November 2012) is the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent and is often considered as the day when Christmas puddings are made. Nigella's Ultimate Christmas pudding can be made up to 6 weeks in advance of Christmas and also any time up to Christmas eve.

    The traditionally shaped Christmas pudding basins are usually sold by volume so a 500ml (2 cup/1/2 quart) basin would probably make a pudding of approximately 1 pound/450g in weight. As Nigella's Ultimate Christmas Pudding recipe makes enough for a 1 1/2 litre basin, it would also make enough to fill three 500ml basins.

    For the smaller sized puddings we suggest steaming initially for 3 hours and then a further 3 hours on Christmas day. However we have in the past found that there is a little flexibility with the split of timings and you could also steam them initially for 4 hours and then 2 hours on Christmas Day. Unfortunately 2 hours is the minimum time we would want to steam the pudding for on the day, to make sure it is hot all the way through.

    If you are making the puddings in china basins, rather than the lidded plastic ones, then put a circle of baking parchment (parchment paper) on the surface of the pudding mixture before wrapping the basin very tightly in a double layer of clingfilm (plastic wrap) and a double layer of foil. After the first steaming let the pudding cool completely then unwrap it and replace the baking parchment with a fresh piece. Re-wrap the pudding with a double layer of clingfilm and a double layer if foil and label with the steaming instructions.

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