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English Christmas Pudding

Plum pudding only took on its connections with Christmas when it was introduced to the Victorians by Prince Albert. Burying a silver coin in the pudding mixture is said to bring good fortune to whoever finds it in their portion and all the family should make a wish while stirring the mixture on Stir Up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent. Keep an eye on the pudding during the long steaming, and be sure to keep the pan topped up with boiling water.

ingredients

serves 6 - 8
50 g (2 oz) plain flour
2,5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground mixed spice
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) grated nutmeg
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
50 g (2 oz) shredded beef suet
50 g (2 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
50 g (2 oz) soft light brown sugar
175 g (6 oz) raisins
175 g (6 oz) sultanas
25 g (1 oz) mixed peel, chopped
1 eating apple, grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
25 g (1 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
grated rind 1/2 orange
10 ml (2 tsp) treacle
65 ml (2 1/2 fl oz) barley wine
15 ml (1 tbsp) brandy

method

1. Grease a 1.1 litre (2 pint) ovenproof pudding basin. Mix all the ingredients together, cover and leave overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Spoon the mixture into the prepared basin, cover with pleated greaseproof paper and foil and secure with string. Steam for 6 hours. Cool, then remove the covers.

3. Turn out of the basin and cover the pudding tightly with greaseproof paper. Store for at least 1 month in a cool place.

4. To serve, uncover, place in a basin, re-cover and steam for 2 hours. Or, reheat in a pressure cooker, following the manufacturer's instructions. Serve with brandy butter, fresh cream or custard.

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