Round Christmas Pudding

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I have evolved this recipe over the years to achieve what I feel is the perfect pudding – dark and rich but light in texture. For the perfect spherical shape I have experimented with cooking the pudding in a floured cloth and wrapping it in foil, but my rice steamer lined with foil is ideal. Round steamed-pudding moulds are also available. The quantities here will also fill two 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding basins. You can make the pudding either 3 months or 1 week ahead. On Christmas Day all you need do is steam the pudding for an hour before turning out.

Ingredients

  • 75 g (3 oz) glacé cherries, chopped roughly
  • 175 g (6 oz) soft pitted prunes, chopped roughly
  • 175 g (6 oz) candied peel
  • 175 g (6 oz) seedless raisins
  • 175 g (6 oz) sultanas
  • 175 g (6 oz) currants
  • 75 g (3 oz) pecan or walnut pieces, chopped roughly
  • 250 g (8 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 250 g (8 oz) shredded vegetable suet
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) stout
  • 3–4 tablespoons brandy, rum or whisky

Method

  1. Put the dried fruit, nuts, breadcrumbs and suet in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in the eggs, then the stout and enough spirit to make a mixture which just drops from the spoon. Leave for a few hours.

  2. Line both halves of the rice steamer with buttered foil, letting it overlap the edges. Fill both halves, then clamp shut and press the foil edges together. Put the steamer on a metal trivet in a large saucepan and pour in hot water to come half way up the bottom half of the mould.

  3. Cover and steam for about 6 hours, topping up with more boiling water as necessary. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. When cold uncover the pudding, then rewrap it in a layer of fresh greaseproof paper, followed by one of foil. Keep in a cool place until required.

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