Soak the dried fruit in the Sherry
overnight, or for as long as you can –
even a 10-min soak will help. Butter
6 x 200ml pudding or dariole moulds.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Beat the butter and sugar together
until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs, then
slowly add them to the butter and sugar
using an electric whisk or mixer. Sift the
flour and baking powder together, then
carefully fold into the egg, butter and
sugar mix using a large metal spoon.
Drain the fruit and fold into the mix with
the mixed spice, orange or clementinezest and 4 tbsp of the sloe gin.
Mix the jam and the remaining sloe gin,
then divide between the moulds. Spoon
in the batter, filling the moulds two-thirds
full. Fill another mould with any leftover
mix. Cover each mould with a large
square of foil with a pleat in the centre
to allow room, as the sponges will rise a
lot. Secure with string. Place the moulds
in a baking or roasting dish, then fill the
dish with water to come one-third up
the side of the moulds. Bake for about
1 hr or until the sponges have risen and
are cooked. The puds can now be cooled,
then chilled. Reheat the same way they
were cooked for 20 mins or until hot.
To serve, remove the foil. Gently loosen
the puddings with a knife and upturn
them onto plates. Serve with homemade
or bought custard.