|Preparation time:||45 minutes|
|Cooking time:||10 - 12 hours|
Allow the flavours to develop in time for a truly divine Christmas treat!
- 50g self-raising flour
- 250g caster sugar
- 125g breadcrumbs
- 100g suet
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 400ml double cream
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 225g dark brown sugar
- 125g raisins
- 250g currants
- 125g sultanas
- 50g glace cherries cut in half
- 50g mixed peel
- 50g whole almonds, peeled and roughly chopped (not too small)
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped (not too small)
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs
- 150ml Guinness
- 50ml brandy
Put the suet, spices, flour, bread crumbs, sugar, nuts, dried fruits and peel into a bowl. Add the Guinness and brandy and mix well. Don't forget to make a wish whilst stirring the mixture! Cover and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
Beat the eggs and mix thoroughly into the mixture, along with a good pinch of salt.
Place the whole gorgeous gooey lot in a greased 2 pint bowl and cover with a double layer of baking parchment and then a double layer of foil. Tie securely with string.
Steam the pudding for 8 - 10 hours (yes, really!), regularly topping up the saucepan with boiling water - set a pinger to remind you to check the levels every hour or so - it is ridiculously easy to let your precious pudding boil dry!
Once cooked cool completely, replace the parchment and foil with a fresh set of coverings and keep in a cool place until Christmas Day.
The key to success on the day...
Don't forget it needs to be steamed for ANOTHER 2 HOURS!!!
For maximum atmosphere draw the curtains, turn down the lights and light a few candles.
Back in kitchen HQ, slowly warm ½ ladleful of brandy in a small saucepan, turn out your masterpiece onto a heated dish with a shallow rim and decorate the pud with a generous sprig of holly. Once the brandy is really hot, pour it back into the ladle (it must be metal)...at this stage speed if of the essence...make a speedy beeline for the table, light the brandy with a match, remove the holly and carefully pour the flaming elixir over the pudding. Dole out and serve with brandy butter (or brandy sauce) and lashings of thick cream. Delicious and not exactly slimming, but it's only once a year...!