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The Christmas Pudding is the quintessential sweet-treat of the festive season and the crowning glory of your Christmas feast! Preserving its traditional dome-shape, this recipe combines dried fruit with candied peel, sweet spices and, of course, the all-important splash (or glug!) of brandy.
This cake serves 8-10 people.
Grease your pudding basin, ensuring you’re not over-generous with the amount of butter used.
Add the dried fruit, apple, orange juice, lemon juice and candied peel to your mixing bowl, then add in the brandy and mix sufficiently. Once stirred, cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel and leave it to marinate – this should be for a good few hours, but works best if left overnight!
In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon and mixed spices together well. Once combined, add the sugar, suet, breadcrumbs, orange zest, lemon zest and almonds, then mix thoroughly again.
At this stage, you should have two mixing bowls with well-combined ingredients. Simply add the marinated dried fruit to the other mixing bowl, and mix all of the ingredients well. The mixture should now be quite dry.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then stir them in with the rest of the ingredients at a swift pace, until the overall consistency is relatively soft.
Carefully spoon your mixture into the pudding basin, ensuring you lightly pat the mixture down as you go. When the entirety of the mixture is transferred over, cover the pudding basin with two layers of greaseproof paper. Once covered, add a layer of aluminium and tie up with some string, ensuring the knot is nice and secure.
Prepare a saucepan of water and heat it on the hob. Once simmering, put the pudding basin in a steamer and place it over the saucepan. Steam it for 7 hours. During this time, it’s important to periodically check the water level in the saucepan – the last thing you want is for it to boil dry!
When the 7 hours are up, check on the colour of the pudding – it should be a dark brown. Remove it from the steamer, then leave it to cool completely.
Once cool, take off the wrapped layers and gently prick the pudding with a skewer. Pour in some more brandy, then cover the entire pudding with a new layer of greaseproof paper. Again, secure with string. Finally, store it in a cool, dry place.
This pudding should be made in advance, a while before Christmas day. If it’s eaten straight away, the flavours will fall flat – and so will the pudding itself! As the old saying goes, patience is a virtue. When it’s finally time for Christmas dinner, simply steam the pudding for an hour to reheat, then serve with your choice of custard or sauce.