Well, the Christmas puddings are looking very nice, so here’s the recipe:
Flour -Self Raising 60 gm
Breadcrumbs fresh, brown or white 75 gm
Suet or Butter 85 gm
Pecans (well crushed) 30gm
Apricots (chopped soft, dried) 100 gm
glace cherries 60gm
Sugar - dark soft brown 85gm
Eggs - medium 2
Mixed spice 1 small tsp
Nutmeg - freshly grated for preference 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon 1 small tsp
Marmalade 1 good tsp
Juice of half a lemon & zest
Half a small grated carrot
Grated small eating apple, unpeeled
Stout or orange juice 45 ml / 3 tbs
Brandy or rum 30 ml / 2 tbs
Makes 1 medium pudding or 2 small puddings
Grease the pudding basin(s) and fit a small circle of baking paper or greaseproof paper in the base so as just to cover the bottom of the basin. (This will help when you come to turn out the pudding.) Place the glace cherries round side down into the bottom of each basin on top of the paper so that these will appear on the top of the cooked pudding when served.
In a large mixing bowl, stir the suet into the flour or cream it with the sugar if using butter. Add the dried fruit and the rest of the dry ingredients and stir well as it is easier to mix thoroughly when the mixture is dry. Then add the eggs and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. – This is the point where the family can stir in their wishes for Father Christmas!
Fill a large pan, (big enough to contain the basin and still allow the pan lid to fit on well) with enough water to come about half way up when the basin is inside, and set it to boil in readiness.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, taking care not to disturb the cherries, so that it comes up to 2 cm below the top. Fold a pleat across the centre of a large oval of greased greaseproof paper big enough to fit generously over the top of your basin with plenty to spare. Place the pleated paper centrally on top and start folding over the edge, twisting it inwards and up under the lip of the basin as you work your way around, ending with a final twist to secure it. ( If preferred, you can secure it with string instead, but this is often more difficult depending on the contours of your basin) Repeat the pleating and covering with a piece of kitchen foil – this prevents too much water from condensing steam getting inside the basin when it is cooking. It is important not to allow the foil in direct contact with the pudding mixture as the acid in the fruit will react with it. The pleating allows the pudding room to expand.
Making sure the water is boiling, place the covered basin in the water and keep the heat high until it returns to the boil. (If you use plastic/nylon basins you need to put a metal jam jar top or saucer underneath the basin in the pan to avoid the risk of it melting while the heat is on high.) Once it has returned to the boil, you can turn the heat down to a simmer. Steam in this way for 6 hours, topping up with boiling water if necessary. (You can also transfer to preheated crockpot of simmering water for the last 5 hours to avoid steaming up the kitchen or wasting energy, if you have one large enough.)
After cooking when cool, replace the top with dry greaseproof paper and foil and store in a cool place until Christmas. Reheat by steaming for 2 to 3 hours, turn out onto a plate, remove the paper circle and then decorate with a sprig of holly immediately before serving.