This incredibly traditional Christmas pudding tastes best if you make it at least a month in advance so that the flavours can mature and develop. It follows a traditional recipe, but you'll appreciate the effort that goes into the making it when Christmas comes around!
- 175g plain flour with 50g self-raising flour
- 225g butter or suet, grated, chilled
- 225g each raisins, currants and sultanas
- 225g dark brown sugar
- 225g breadcrumbs
- 110g each chopped mixed peel and slivered almonds
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. allspice
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp. each ginger and cinnamon
- 2 apples
- 1 wineglass brandy, or more if needed
Let the raisins, sultanas and currants soak in the brandy for at least three to four days. Add more brandy every now and then if it seems dry.
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, allspice, ginger and cinnamon. Grate the apples and remove the core. Fold into the batter along with the mixed peel, slivered almonds and soaked fruit.
Put the mix into a 1.2 litre pudding basin and cover with a circle of greaseproof paper. Fill a large saucepan with boiling water, bring to the boil and place the bowl into the pot. The water should reach around 2/3 the way up the sides of the bowl. Add more water occasionally to make sure it doesn't boil dry, then cover and steam over a low heat for 6 hours.
Leave the pudding to dry, then once it has cooled, cover and leave it somewhere cool and dry for at least a month. When you come to serve the cake at Christmas, steam it for 2 hours, then leave it out of the water for half an hour before serving.