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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.