Soak the sultanas, currants, figs, mixed
peel, cherries and the apricots in the
brandy in a bowl overnight if possible or
for at least a few hrs (if you don't have time for this, place the fruit in a microwaveable bowl with the brandy and give it a quick blast in the microwave to plump up). In a larger bowl, mix the
ginger and syrup, apples, orange juice and
zest, eggs, suet, crumbs, sugar and flour.
Using your fingers or a wooden spoon,
mix in the soaked fruit and mixed spice.
Butter 2 x 1.5-litre pudding basins
and divide the mixture between them,
filling almost to the rim. Smooth the tops
and cover with 2 circles of greaseproof
paper. Cover each pudding with a
sheet of foil with a folded pleat down
the centre, to allow the pudding to
expand, and secure everything by tying
it tightly with some string. Stand the
puddings in a deep, large pan (or 2 if
that’s easier) on trivets or upturned
saucers and pour boiling water around
so it comes about a third of the way up.
Cover the pan and steam the puddings
for 5 hrs, topping up with more boiling
water when necessary.
Let the puddings cool down before
removing the foil and greaseproof paper,
then cover with cling film over the top
and store in a cool, dry place if you aren’t
using them straight away. This is the time
you can drizzle them with more booze in
the run-up to Christmas if you have time.
To reheat, steam the pudding for 1 hr
more before turning out and flaming
with hot brandy.