This recipe is sugar free and suitable for vegetarians. If you have a wheat intolerance use a gluten free bread for the crumbs.
Serves 10 – 15
75g chopped cherries
175g pitted ready- to-eat prunes
175g dried apricots
75g chopped almonds
250g fresh breadcrumbs
250g shredded vegetarian suet
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 eggs (medium size)
3 tablespoons brandy, rum or whisky
Butter for greasing the pudding basins
Put the dried fruit, almonds, breadcrumbs, suet and spices into a large bowl and mix together. Whisk the eggs until fluffy and thickened then stir into the dried ingredients. Stir in the stout and spirit, adding enough to make a 'dropping' consistency.
It's now time for everyone to take a turn to stir the mix and make a wish.
Grease a 1 litre and a 0.5 litre pudding basin. Spoon the mixture into the basins smoothing the tops. Cover each with a double layer of greaseproof paper. On top of this place a layer of foil. Secure all three layers by tying string around the rim.
Steam the large pudding for 6 hours, and the smaller one for 4-5 hours, using one of the options below.
On the cooker top – fill a pan with water, bring to a simmer and then place the pudding basins, inside a steamer pan, on top. Ensure you keep the water topped up, or it will boild dry!
As above but on a trivet instead of in a steamer pan
In a slow cooker - just pour boiling water around the basin
In a bain marie in the oven - place the pudding basin in a large roasting tray of water and place in the oven at 160°C, using the same cooking times as above. Make sure you keep it topped with water
Store the cooled puddings in a cool dark place until Christmas. When re-heating replace the greaseproof and foil with clean layers and re-steam for about an hour before serving.
Halve the quantities if you are catering for smaller numbers, and downsize the basin size accordingly.
Alternatively, make a bulk batch and they can be frozen for up to a year – or less, if you just can't wait round until next Christmas!!
Sarah Johnstone is the subscriptions manager at Permaculture Magazine. She regulalry brings delicious foodie treats in to work to keep us all going!