About this recipe:This is a tried and tested family recipe for a traditional Christmas pudding. This Christmas pudding has been enjoyed by our family for generations and has never given us any surprises on Christmas day in terms of quality, flavours or texture. This Christmas pudding is better if made at least three months in advance which will allow it to age perfectly. However, if you are waiting until Stir-up Sunday, this pudding is still sure to draw a crowd and gain an applause, and will taste a little less strongly of the alcohol which may be preferable for the younger members of the family. Be sure to set this pudding alight on its way to the table and serve with lashings of brandy sauce.
225g (8 oz) shredded suet
110g (4 oz) self raising flour
450g (1 lb) soft brown sugar
225g (8 oz) breadcrumbs
1 heaped teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
225g (8 oz) sultanas
225g (8 oz) raisins
450g (1 lb) currants
110g (4 oz) chopped almonds
1 orange, zested
1 lemon, zested
1 apple - cored, peeled and chopped
4 eggs, beaten
150ml (5 fl oz) rum
150ml (5 fl oz) stout
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In a large mixing bowl, combine the suet, self raising flour, sugar, breadcrumbs and spices. Use your hands to get the ingredients well mixed together. Gradually mix in all of the dried fruit, almonds and zest of the orange and lemon. Finally add the chopped apple and mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, combine the beaten eggs with the rum and the stout and whisk to ensure that the ingredients are well blended. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dropping consistency. Add more stout if needed.
Cover and leave the pudding mixture for 24 hours in a cool dark place.
Grease two 1.5 litre (2 1/2 pt) pudding basins and spoon in the pudding to each and fill to the top. Cover with greaseproof paper and then wrap in cheesecloth or muslin. Tie the cloth tightly around the rim of the basins with a long piece of string.
In a large pan, bring enough water to the boil to come up to 1/3 the side of the pudding basin. Secure the pudding using the string to the handles of the pan. Boil for 8 hours topping up the water frequently.
After cooking, allow the puddings to cool. At this point you can add more rum if you wish for a stronger flavour on Christmas day. Cover with fresh greaseproof paper and tie in fresh muslin. Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months.
On Christmas day, when you are ready to reheat, repeat step 5, boiling the pudding for 2 hours.
Turn out the pudding onto a serving plate and flame with brandy.
Traditionally, Christmas puddings are made five weeks before Christmas on the Sunday before Advent, often called "Stir-up Sunday" when the family created the pudding together and made wishes. Sixpence, or thruppence, was often placed into the pudding for luck and in some families this tradition continues. If you wish to add a charm or a coin, you can do so in step 4 but be absolutely sure to warn your guests on Christmas day about the items in the pudding before anyone takes a bite!