This recipe is best started the day before. It makes about 4 small 500g or 2 large 1kg puddings. It is also important to use the best quality dried fruit you can get. I would particularly recommend organic apricots both for colour and flavour.
170g raisins110g currants200g sultanas85g chopped mixed peel225g mixed dried apricots and figs chopped290ml brown ale2 tbsp brandygrated rind and juice of 1 lemongrated rind and juice of 1 orange110g stone less prunes, soaked overnight in cold tea then drained and chopped1 dessert apple, cored and grated225g butter, softened340g soft dark brown sugar2 tbsp black treacle3 large eggs, beaten110g self-raising flour2 tsp ground mixed spice1 tsp ground cinnamona pinch of freshly grated nutmega pinch of ground gingera pinch of salt225g fresh white breadcrumbs55g chopped toasted hazelnuts or almonds
- Grate the orange and lemon rind, and squeeze the juice. Soak all the dried fruit except for the prunes overnight in the brown ale, lemon and orange juice and rind.
- The next day mix in the prunes and grated apple and stir really well to mix. Set aside.
- Grease your pudding basins with some extra butter. Set the combi steam to 100% steam.
- Cream the butter with the sugar and black treacle. Beat until fluffy. Slowly add the egg and beat well between each addition.
- Sift together the flour spices and salt and fold into the butter mixture. Fold in the breadcrumbs, nuts, dried fruit and soaking liquor.
- Divide the mixture between the pudding basins. Fill to about 2 cm from the top of the basin. Cover well with greaseproof paper tied with string, then foil.
- Place in the perforated container in the middle of the oven and put the solid container underneath. Steam for 4 hours for the smaller pudding and 5 for the larger. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- On Christmas day steam for about 1-2 hours. Remove from the oven, turn out carefully onto a serving plate.
In Short: This recipe requires a little bit of lead time, but the results are most certainly worth it. This Christmas Pudding will warm you up on a chilly day.