The Christmas pudding started life as a simple pottage; which over Yuletide people enhanced with expensive spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg.
2lb 4oz mixed dried fruit
9oz (250g) ready to eat prunes, chopped
3.5oz (100g) glace cherries, halved
5fl oz (150ml) stout
2 tbsp brandy
9oz (250g) fresh white breadcrumbs
2.75oz blanched almonds, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
8oz (225g) soft brown sugar
1 large carrot, peeling and finely grated
3.5oz (100g) ground almonds
5oz (140g) plain flour
1tsp ground mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
9oz (250g) beef or vegetable suet, shredded
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
2 large cooking apples, peeled and coarsely grated
1. Mix all the ingredients together in your largest mixing bowl or saucepan and stir well (make sure all the family make a wish during the stirring). Cover tightly with cling-film and leave to stand in a cool place overnight.
2. Turn into well-buttered pudding basins and cover with a pleated circle of both baking parchment and aluminium foil, securing with string. Place in a saucepan on an improvised trivet and pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding.
3. Cover and bring to the boil on the boiling plate and then transfer to the simmering plate for 30 minutes slow boiling.
4. Transfer the pudding, water and pan to the floor of the simmering oven. Cook for 12 hours or overnight. Remove from the pans and allow to cool. Brush the surface of the puddings with brandy and then cover with fresh parchment and foil coverings and string. Store in a cool, dark and dry place or in the refrigerator until Christmas.
Cover and bring to the boil. Adjust the position on the hotplate to maintain a medium boil for 30 minutes, continue to steam for 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours.
Alternatively: Main Oven 120ºC (250 ºF), Gas Mark L-1
Cast Iron Lower Oven in slow cooking mode
Transfer to the floor of the Main Oven, where no topping up will be required. Alternatively, continue steaming on the hotplate, topping up with boiling water as necessary. Allow to cool and store in a cool, dry and dark place for at least a month. To serve, steam for an hour using above methods.