- STEP 1
- STEP 2
The night before: Wash and rinse in cold running water the currants, sultanas and raisins, then leave to drain. Once drained place all the fruit ingredients for the Christmas Pudding from the first group of ingredients into a non-metallic mixing bowl. Stir in the grated orange and lemon zest and then add the juice. And finally add the stout (Guinness) and mix well. Cover and leave overnight in a cool place. The dried fruit will plump up with the alcohol and fruit juices in the night.
- STEP 3
On the following day: grease a large 2 litre round pudding basin (or two smaller 1 litre ones) with butter.
- STEP 4
In a very large mixing bowl mix in the flour, suet and breadcrumbs. While in a separate bowl beat the eggs with the brandy, then add this to the flour, suet (you can use a vegetarian substitute if preferred) and breadcrumbs, stirring it in a little at a time.
- STEP 5
Then in stages add everything else. Stir in the sugar, salt, and spices, the chopped almonds, grated carrot and apple, etc. and then everything from the overnight bowl of fruit and mix well. Make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed in and there are no clumps of single ingredients.
- STEP 6
If the mixture is a little wet add in some extra plain flour, if a little dry add in some milk. The mixture should be of a soft of dropping consistency, i.e. the mixture is not too sloppy but will drop off the spoon when tilted.
- STEP 7
Add the silver or gold coin if adding, and it is at this stage everyone in the family should give the pudding mix a stir for good luck. Once at this stage spoon the mixture into the prepared pudding basin.
- STEP 8
Spoon the mixture into the greased pudding basin, and pack it down a little, level the surface with the back of the spoon the mixture to thethe level of the pudding should be about 3cm (1.5 inches) below the top (or less) of the basin. I like to use an oven-proof clear glass pudding basin so that I can see what is going on during the steaming time and later on how it is maturing. Cut a round, large sheet of baking parchment (or greaseproof paper) and one of foil slightly bigger so they will come down at least 10 cm (4 inches) over the sides of the basin.
- STEP 9
Lay the baking parchment on top of the foil and fold a large pleat down the centre of both (to allow for any pudding expansion). Lay the sheets over the top of the pudding basin (foil side up) and secure around the sides with string and wrap the string around the pudding basin several times tightly and tie the string off to make sure the foil top is secured down firmly and the pudding is sealed. Trim off any excess foil and paper if it is too long. You can even make a string handle by looping it over the top and tying it off under the string going around the basin.
- STEP 10
Stand the pudding basin in a deep saucepan (which has a tight fitting lid) on an upturned heatproof plate (or metal bars etc.) to raise it off the bottom of the saucepan and add a little water under the plate to get rid of any air pockets. Pour in boiling water to come just under half way up the side of the pudding basin.
- STEP 11
Keep the water at a medium simmer and a gentle bubble, cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for 7 or 8 hours, topping up with boiling water from time to time. It is important to keep checking the level of the water so that it does not run dry.
- STEP 12
After the allotted time spent steaming remove the pudding basin from the steamer or saucepan and allow to cool. When cool take off and replace the foil and greaseproof paper top with some fresh sheets and re-secure and seal the puddingÃÂÃÂ before sealing drizzle over a little extra brandy. Store the pudding in its sealed pudding basin in a cool dark place until Christmas Day.