This recipe came to my grandmother from a war-time friend and we have been using it for many years in our family. I have prepared the fruit today and left it soak in the brandy and will finish making them tomorrow. This recipe makes a huge amount – at least 3 large puddings, so I usually halve the recipe and make a large and a smaller pudding. I use the plastic pudding bowls and clip on lids from Lakeland. If you make the full amount, you will need a huge mixing bowl!
- 8oz currants, 8oz sultanas, 12oz raisins, 4 oz glace cherries, 4oz angelica (optional, but I include it), 8 oz good quality mixed peel, 4oz whole blanched almonds, chopped, 2oz glace pineapple, 2oz dried apricots,
- 4 tablespoons brandy.
- Chop the cherries, angelica, almonds, pineapple and apricots, add the currants, sultanas and raisins and pour over the brandy. Stir well, cover and leave overnight in a non-metallic bowl.
- 9oz white breadcrumbs from a good loaf, 10oz Demerara sugar, 12oz shredded suet, 1/4 tsp ground mace, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 6oz self-raising flour, 1 orange, 1/2 lemon, 3oz grated carrot, 8oz grated Bramley apples, 5 eggs, 2 tablespoons black treacle, 1/4 pint stout eg Guinness.
- Stir the breadcrumbs, sifted flour and spices into the fruit mix. Stir in sugar and suet. Grate in the orange and lemon rind, carrots and apples. Beat in eggs and add the orange and lemon juices and treacle. Mix all together until well blended. Lastly mix in the stout and maybe an extra slug of brandy to a dropping consistency. Put the mix into the pudding basins. Cover with a circle of baking parchment. Clip on the lid or tie on a pleated circle of foil or muslin, if using a proper pudding bowl. Steam very gently in a double boiler for 8 hours (yes, 8!). Make sure the saucepan does not boil dry. Use the other half of the lemon in the steaming water to help prevent the saucepan marking.
- Remove when done and cool. Store in a cool dry place until Christmas Day. They can be frozen, if you prefer or want to keep it for a long time.
- On Christmas Day, steam the pudding again for 3 hours. All this steaming produces a very dark, moist pudding, so don’t try and cheat by microwaving it. It won’t be the same!
You can swap and change the dried fruit and include anything you like, likewise with the alcohol, although the recipe says to use brandy or rum, you could use whiskey, Cointreau etc. You could add more or less spices too.
We light the pudding with a generous tablespoon of brandy, and serve it with brandy cream (just whip the cream and whip in a slug of brandy).