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    Traditional Christmas pudding

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    Traditional Christmas pudding

    Nothing gets you into the seasonal spirit quite like stirring brandy into a big bowl of dried fruit for a homemade pud

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus soaking
    • Cooking time: 4 hours, plus reheating
    • Total time: 4 hours 20 minutes, plus soaking and reheating

    Serves: 12


    250g vine fruit mix
    125g flame raisins
    75g currants
    175ml brandy, plus extra to feed and flambé
    Butter, for greasing
    3 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Eggs, beaten
    125g vegetable suet
    175g Billingtons Dark Muscovado Sugar
    125g fresh breadcrumbs
    125g self-raising flour
    2 tbsp black treacle
    1 eating apple, grated, core discarded
    1 tsp mixed spice


    1. Mix together all the dried fruits in a bowl and pour over the brandy. Stir together, then cover the bowl and leave to soak for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight, so the dried fruit becomes nice and plump.

    2. Grease a heatproof 1.5-litre pudding basin (one with a lid works best) with butter and a small disc of parchment paper in the centre and set aside. Half fill a large saucepan with water (make sure it is big enough to fit the basin) and bring to the boil with the lid on. Alternatively, fit an appropriately sized steamer over the top and cover.

    3. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining pudding ingredients until well mixed. Pour in the steeped fruit and all the liquid in the bottom of the bowl, and stir to combine.

    4. Spoon the pudding mixture into the prepared basin and secure with a lid if you have one, then wrap the basin in foil. If you don’t have a basin with a lid, cover the top with a double layer of buttered foil and seal with string to hold it in place. Place the pudding into the pan of simmering water, or into the steamer above it and simmer for 4 hours. Make sure you top up the water every so often to stop the pan boiling dry.

    5. When the pudding has steamed for 4 hours, remove from the pan and unwrap. Keep in a cool, dark place wrapped in clean foil until ready to eat, drizzling (known as feeding) it with brandy every couple of weeks. The pudding will keep for around 2 months and will improve over time.

    6. On the day of eating, either steam for a further 1½ hours, or microwave for 10-15 minutes on low, until piping hot throughout. Turn the pudding out of the basin onto a good-sized serving plate with a rim around the edge. Gently heat the brandy in a small saucepan or metal ladle, until really hot but not boiling. Pour over the pudding and carefully and immediately light the brandy to flambé. Depending on preference, serve with custard, cream or brandy butter.

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