Christmas Plum Pudding
We use butter instead of vegetable suet and this gives a more luxurious texture. The prunes marry well with the brandy. Every Christmas pudding needs a good kick of booze. It is Christmas after all.
Zest and juice the orange and zest the lemon.
Chop the prunes.
Grate the apple. Sift the flour, salt and spices together.
Butter 2 × 1-litre pudding bowls.
Soak the dried fruit, peel, cherries, apple and zests in the orange juice, stout and brandy overnight, with sugar and treacle.
Next day, stir in the eggs and fold in the bread- crumbs. Melt the butter in a pan and add, then gently fold in the flour mixture.
Divide between the basins and cover each with a disc of baking parchment. If you are using ceramic pudding basins, tie a larger circle of baking parchment around with string, to cover the lips. If using a plastic basin, just pop the lid on that it came with.
Steam over a low heat for six hours, keeping an eye on the water level so that it doesn’t run dry, then remove and cool.
Wrap in cling film and store until Christmas Day in a cool spot. Give one away before Christmas.
Your pudding will need a two-hour steam to heat through properly.
Serve with brandy custard or double cream, not forgetting to ignite the pudding before you bring it to the table (warm the brandy first).
Makes 2 × 1-litre puddings
1 Unwaxed lemon
1 Eating apple
75g Self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp Sea salt
2 tsp Mixed spice
1 tsp Ground nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp Ground cloves
175g Unsalted butter, plus more for the pudding bowls
75g Mixed peel
l 50g Glacé cherries
100ml each Stout and brandy
200g Dark muscovado sugar
25g Black treacle
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
75g Fresh breadcrumbs
2 x 1-litre Ceramic or plastic pudding bowls