You will need a 1.4 litre pudding basin
- Measure the mixed fruit & apricots into a bowl with the orange juice. Add the measured brandy, stir & leave to marinate for about one hour.
- Put the measured butter, sugar & grated orange rind into a large bowl & cream together with a wooden spoon until light & fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the measured flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
- Sift together the flour & mixed spice, then fold into the creamed mixture with the breadcrumbs & the nuts.
Add the soaked dried fruits with their soaking liquid & stir well.
- Generously butter your pudding basin. Cut a small disc of foil or baking parchment & press into the
base of the basin.
- Spoon into the prepared pudding basin & press the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover the pudding with a layer of baking parchment paper & foil, both pleated across the middle to allow for expansion.
Tie securely with string & trim off excess
paper & foil with scissors.
- To steam, put the pudding in the top of a steamer filled with simmering water, cover with a lid & steam for eight hours, topping up the water as necessary.
- To boil the pudding, put a metal jam jar lid, or metal pan lid, into the base of a large pan to act as a trivet. Place a long, doubled strip of foil in the pan, between the trivet & the pudding basin, ensuring the ends of the strip reach up & hang over the edges of the pan. This will help you to lift the heavy pudding basin out of the pan of hot water when it has finished cooking.
- Lower the pudding onto the trivet & pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the side of the bowl. Cover with a lid, bring the water back to the boil, then simmer for about 7 hours, until the pudding is a
glorious deep brown colour, topping up the
water as necessary
- When cooked through, remove the pudding from the pan & cool completely. Discard the paper & foil & replace with fresh. Store in a cool, dry place.
To serve, on Christmas Day...
Steam or boil the pudding for about 2 hours to reheat. To flame, warm the brandy or rum in a small pan, pour it over the hot pudding & set light to it.