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Now is the time to make your own Christmas pudding

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LIKE MY Christmas cake a few weeks back on ThinkScotland this is the favourite that I just go back to year on year, it’s fail-safe and tastes delicious.

Ingredients

4 ozs of suet (shredded)
2 ozs sifted self-raising flour
4 ozs of white breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of allspice
8 ozs of soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado is best)
4 ozs sultanas
4 ozs raisins
2 ozs chopped prunes
8 ozs currants
1 oz of chopped almonds
1 cooking apple peeled, cored and chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 oz mixed candied peel
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of dark rum
3 fl oz stout
3 fl oz Triple Sec or Cointreau
A 2 pint pudding basin, Pyrex type is best

Method

Start the night before as you need to be at home for a day – as this pudding has to be steamed for 8 hours and needs constant attention, believe me it’s worth it!

Get your largest bowl and put in the suet, sifted flour and breadcrumbs. Add all the spices and sugar. Mix all these ingredients then add all the dried fruit, peel and nuts. Add the apple and zests.

In another bowl mix the rum, beer and orange liqueur. Add the eggs and beat it all together. Pour this over the fruit mixture in the other bowl, mixing thoroughly. It should have a sloppy consistency, if not add some more rum. Cover the bowl and allow to steep overnight.

Next day grease your pudding basin and pack the mixture in the bowl pressing down with a metal spoon. Cover the top of the bowl with a double sheet of greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil overlapping the rim generously. Tie securely with string on the outside of the rim below any lip so the covering cannot come off. Take a large strip of foil and fold it repeatedly so it’s long and thin like a tie, then wrap under and over the top to make a handle when steaming to allow you to lift the pudding out when cooked.

Put boiling water in a large pan with an upside down saucer on the bottom, so your bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan once it is placed in it – then simmer with the lid on the pan for 8 hours, topping up with boiling water when needed.

The pudding should be firm, not soft, when ready. If still soft keep steaming a little longer until it firms up.

After 8 hours take out using your improvised handle and let it go cold.

Take the cover off the bowl and turn it upside down on to a large flat plate then cover with fresh greaseproof paper and foil and store away in a dry place until Christmas Day. Serve by reheating the whole pudding gently (it can be microwaved or placed in an oven with a separate dish of water so it doesn’t dry out), then cutting individual portions as you need them.

Serve with your choice of cream, ice cream, custard etc (with or without brandy and sugar flavouring to your taste).

Believe me, this recipe beats any Christmas pudding you can buy.

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