This is a longtime family favorite and an ambitious recipe. It comes fromThe Ultimate Christmas Cookbook. We’ve tweaked this to within an inch of its life because we’re not the hugest fans of all that nasty fruitcake mixed peel or of a heavy liquor taste, but we love nuts and raisins. What follows is OUR version. Tweak it as you see fit. For the original version, you’ll have to buy the book, I guess. 🙂 This plum pudding is made for brandy hard sauce, but again, my dad dolls it up with his own “flava.”
Note: This recipe makes enough to fill 1.2 liter/2 pint/5 cup basin or two 600 ml/1 pint/2 1/2 cup basins. It can be made up to a month before Christmas and stored in a cool, dry place. Steam the pudding for 2 hours before serving. Serve topped with a decorative sprig of holly.
1/2 cup butter
1 heaped cup soft dark brown sugar
1/2 cup self-raising flour (you could probably use all-purpose – I have and I haven’t noticed a difference)
3 Tbsp. chopped mixed peel (this can be substituted for dried fruit or, as we prefer, just more golden raisins)
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
finely grated rind of 1 orange or lemon
juice of 1 orange or lemon, made up to 2/3 cup with brandy, rum, sherry (and a dash of Grand Marnier if you want)
wax paper (or other greaseproof paper)
1. Cut a disc of greaseproof paper (we use wax paper) to fit the base of the basin(s) and butter the disc and basin(s). (You may have to experiment to find just the right kind of bowl to use.)
2. Whisk the butter and sugar together until soft. Beat in the flour, spices, and eggs. Stir in the remaining ingredients thoroughly. The mixture should have a soft dropping consistency.
3. Turn the mixture into the greased basin(s) and level the top.
4. Cover with another disc of buttered greaseproof paper.
5. Make a pleat across the center of a large piece of greaseproof paper and cover the basin(s), tying it with string. Pleat a piece of foil in the same way and cover the basin(s), tucking it under the greaseproof frill. Wrapbowl entirely with wax paper and foil (all the way around).
6. Tie another piece of string around the basin(s) and across the top, as a handle. Place the basin(s) in a steamer over a pan of simmering water and steam for 6 hours. Alternatively, put the basin(s) into a large pan and pour round enough boiling water to come halfway up the basin(s) and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Check the water is simmering and top it up with boiling water as it evaporates. When the pudding(s) have cooked, leave to cool completely. Then remove the foil and greaseproof paper. Wipe the basin(s) clean and replace the greaseproof paper and foil with clean pieces, ready for reheating.
To serve: Steam for 2 hours. Turn on to a plate and leave to stand for 5 minutes before removing the pudding basin (the steam will rise to the top of the basin and help to loosen the pudding).