Christmas Pudding

Author
Yield 2 - puddings

The last Sunday before Advent is traditionally "Stir Up Sunday" when Christmas puddings are mixed and stirred whilst making a wish.

This recipe is one that was my Grandmothers - with a few tweaks from me.

The original recipe contained suet but that means that it can't be served to vegetarians so I have used butter instead.

I've also added some toasted hazelnuts because I like the taste and occasional crunch!

You will need two large pudding basins for this mixture or you could make 5 x 1lb basins.

My Grandmother would always make two large puddings and keep one in a cool larder, well wrapped, until the following year. If you are keeping them you can take the top off and give it an occasional "drink" of rum or brandy and cover with new paper and foil.

Ingredients: 
For the pudding
170g raisins
110g currants
200g sultanas
85g mixed peel
110g dried figs, chopped
110 dried apricots, chopped
290mls brown ale
2 tblsp dark rum (or brandy or whisky)
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
110g pitted chopped prunes, soaked overnight in cold tea and drained
1 dessert apple
225g butter
340g dark brown sugar
2 tblsp treacle
3 eggs, beaten
110g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch grated nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
pinch of salt
225g fresh white breadcrumbs
55g chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Instructions: 
  1. Soak the dried fruit overnight in the beer, rum, orange juice and lemon juice. Next day add the prunes
  2. Grate the apple, including the skin and add to the fruit.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light, add the orange and lemon zest. Beat the eggs in a little at a time, beating well between each addition,
  4. Fold in the sifted flour, spices, salt and breadcrumbs and add the fruit and soaking liquor. Stir well to make sure it is well mixed.
  5. Divide the mixture between the greased pudding basins and cover with a double layer of baking parchment and one piece of foil on top. Tie around the sides of the bowl with string and bring it over the top to form a handle.Trim the excess paper and tuck the rest under the foil. This should ensure no water will reach the puddings.
  6. Lower into a pan that has a few inches of boiling water in it. Put a lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer. They should steam for about 8 - 10 hours and you must top up with boiling water every now and again to ensure it doesn't boil dry. Although they will be ready to eat after 4 - 5 hours they will continue to darken if you steam them for longer. You can steam them over two sessions

Note: The puddings can be kept for a year but after this they will start to dry out. They can also be frozen. To serve - steam for 2 - 2/12 hours. If you are lighting the top when serving make sure you warm the brandy first or it will not light.