Before we get any smart references to “stir up Sunday”, this is a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time, and the best puddings mature for 12 months+ before being consumed.
Take a 500 g bag of mixed dried fruit and peel, add two 75 g bags of orange flavoured cranberries, add 200 g of prunes, chopped up (pair of scissors is easiest), and soak in 250 ml of sherry. You can mix and match the fruit a bit according to what’s the best deal in your supermarket, but prunes are quite important (think Plum Pudding). You can also use whatever sherry suits your taste – Croft Original, Harvey’s Bristol Cream, etc. You might well find the fruit soaks up all the sherry – keep adding more until it stops soaking it up.
Mix 130 g of plain flour, 170 g of breadcrumbs, 200 g of suet, 200 g Muscovado sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cloves, 2 teaspoons of mixed spice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
To the dry mixture, add the zest of one or two lemons (depending upon size), 1 large cooking apple (grated), 3 tablespoons of honey, and 4 eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Scrape in the soaked fruit and any liquid left, and mix very thoroughly.
There’s enough mixture for about four pints worth of pudding basin(s).
Wrap tightly in foil and steam for five hours for a very large one, or three for smaller ones, or in between.
When cool, unwrap, cover with cling and store in a cool dark place.
Steam for at least two hours on the day, and at least three for a bigger pudding. Do NOT be tempted to microwave it if you want a decent pudding.