Church stirs things up with pudding festival

Share this article

St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Peebles has come up with the perfect recipe for a festive fundraiser: a Christmas pudding festival dubbed Peebles’ Got Puddings, writes Sandy Neil.

The church, next to the post office, kicks off the festival next week on Thursday from 6pm to 9pm during the town’s lights-switch-on event, and it will continue on Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 3pm, with all proceeds going to St Peter’s.

Organiser and Tweeddale councillor Nathaniel Buckingham told TheSouthern: “We will be serving a wide selection of Christmas puddings to taste and enjoy, along with mulled wine to wash them down, and a tombola, raffle and baking stall. Most importantly, we need your votes to determine who is crowned the 2012 Pudding Champion.”

Rector Jim Benton-Evans said: “We want to help Peebles get into the Christmas spirit by celebrating one of the tastiest parts of Christmas, and have a little bit of fun at the same time. St Peter’s is always open for prayer – during the festival we’ll be open for prayer and puddings!”

“I’m a massive Christmas pudding fan, and Peebles people love making food, which we’ve discovered in the six months we’ve been here. It’s an opportunity to throw open the doors to the community, say here we are and give people a bit of pudding.”

The rector plans to enter puddings in the competition. “I expect to win,” Mr Benton-Evans revealed. He advised his flock to “always make your pudding a month early, and moisten with brandy every two or three days to get the full flavour of Christmas.”

His tip is “copious amounts of brandy. Nigella uses vodka, which, frankly, is a blasphemy.”

Last Sunday was the last before Advent, known as Stir-Up Sunday in the Anglican calendar. Supposedly, cooks, wives and their servants would go to church and hear the collect from the Book of Common Prayer, that starts “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord...”, and be reminded that it was time to start stirring up Christmas puddings.

A Christmas pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and His disciples, and stirred from east to west in honour of the Three Wise Men who visited the baby Jesus. Every member of the family must stir the pudding and make a wish. Charms, such as a coin to symbolise wealth or a ring to foretell marriage, are added and cooked in the pudding, to bring luck to whoever finds them on their plate on Christmas Day.