Makes one pudding for a two-pint pudding basin
- 85g raisins
- 55g currants
- 100g sultanas
- 40g chopped mixed peel
- 110g mixed dried apricots and figs chopped
- 145ml brown ale
- 1 tbsp rum
- half an orange, grated zest and juiced
- half a lemon, grated zest and juiced
- 55g prunes
- half dessert apple, grated
- 110g butter, softened
- extra butter for greasing
- 170g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp treacle
- one and a half eggs
- 55g self raising flour
- half tsp ground mixed spice
- quarter tsp ground cinnamon
- small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- small pinch of ground ginger
- small pinch of salt
- 100g fresh breadcrumbs
- 30g chopped hazelnuts, toasted
- greaseproof paper
- kitchen foil
- Stone and soak the prunes overnight in cold tea then drain and chop them.
- Soak the rest of the dried fruit overnight in the beer, rum, orange juice and lemon juice.
Next day (perhaps on Stir up Sunday):
- Beat the butter with the sugar until light.
- Add the orange and lemon zest and the treacle and mix well.
- Whisk the eggs together and gradually add them to the mixture, beating well after each addition to incorporate them.
- Sift the flour and add it to the mixture with the spices, salt and breadcrumbs and stir in the nuts, chopped prunes, soaked fruit and soaking liquor, and the grated apple and mix well.
- Grease the pudding basin with butter then fill with the mixture, filling it to about 2.5cm below the rim to allow the mixture to expand.
- Place two sheets of greaseproof paper on top of a sheet of kitchen foil (the sheets should be large enough to cover the pudding basin, leaving about 5cm extra all round).
- Grease the centre of the top sheet of greaseproof paper with butter. Fold the three sheets to create a two inch pleat across the middle.
- Place the pleated sheets, buttered side down, on top of the filled pudding basin. Shape the sheets around the basin as tightly as you can but taking care not to tear them. Nip them in under the rim, following the edge of the rim.
- Cut a piece of string four times the circumference of the pudding basin. Fold it in half and tie it round the pudding basin, following the line of the rim and pulling it tightly before knotting it firmly. Create a loop over the top for a handle (see photo).
- Lift up the edge of the foil and trim the greaseproof paper, but not the foil, using kitchen scissors, so it is about 2.5cm deep all round.
- Trim the foil so it is about 2.5cm longer than the greaseproof paper; fold the foil up underneath the greaseproof paper, to capture the greaseproof paper within the foil.
- Gently pull up this foil/greaseproof edge so it stands proud of the pudding basin (this is so that the paper doesn’t get soaked while the pudding steams).
- Lower the pudding into a large saucepan of boiling water, ensuring the water comes half way, or a little further, up the basin.
- Cover and steam for 10 to 12 hours, checking the water level regularly and replenishing it with boiling water as needed.
- Remove the bowl from the pan (hook the string on the handle end of a ladle) and let the pudding cool.
- Recreate a fresh greaseproof and foil cover, pressing it tightly around the basin and store the pudding in a cool place until you are ready to eat it.
Feeding the pudding throughout the year:
- Every other day during the first week then once a month or so, remove the cover, prick the pudding with a skewer (going right down to the base) and drizzle on a tbsp or so of brandy or rum.
- Re-cover the pudding and leave it to soak until you feed it again.
Reheating the pudding:
- Recreate the greaseproof and foil cover with string handle as above.
- Steam for two to two and a half hours then serve.