Makes 3 medium-sized pudding basins. Adjust quantities accordingly
225g (8oz) soft brown sugar
350g (12oz) currants
700g (1½ lbs) raisins
Grated rind and juice of an orange
Grated rind and juice of a lemon
A grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¼ bottle of brown ale or stout
350g (12oz) suet
175g (6oz) skinned almonds
4fl oz brandy or rum
350g (12oz) white breadcrumbs
- Cut almonds into bit-sized pieces. Make breadcrumbs. Mix all the dry ingredients well then add the eggs, the zest and juice of the orange and lemon, beer and lastly the brandy. This should now be quite moist. Leave overnight covered with a wet tea towel to stop the moisture evaporating. In the morning comes the ritualistic “stir-up” by every member of the family – each wishing in secret. Cut out a small circle of parchment paper and place in the bottom of the basin. Put the mixture into the pudding basin(s), leaving ¾in from the top. Cover with parchment paper then foil tied down with string.
Put into a pan with boiling water to come half way up the bowl, put lid on the pan and bring back to the boil and simmer for 30 mins, then transfer to a simmering oven to slowly steam away for six hours or longer.
To store until Christmas, take off the foil and greaseproof and replace with new. On Christmas Day, bring to the boil in water as before, cover and simmer for two hours. Turn out on to a large enough plate to be able to pour over previously warmed brandy. Serve with your preference – brandy butter or thick cream.
If you want to put in money this must be done ONLY just before the final boil on Christmas morning. Remove the cold pudding from the bowl, well wrap the money in foil and poke into the sides and top of the pudding and return to the bowl. Only silver can be used, never copper as the acid from the fruit will be disastrous.