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Christmas Pudding

Light in texture but rich in flavour this Christmas pudding is lower in fat than most traditional recipes but still packed with fruit and alcohol.  The list of ingredients looks long but the method is very easy.

Preparation method

Put the chopped-up figs, the luxury fruit mix, lemon rind and juice and the brandy into a mixing bowl.  Stir well then cover with clingfilm and leave to soak, stirring occasionally, for at least 2 hours or if possible overnight.

Next day, beat the butter, sugar and honey until very creamy then beat in the eggs.

In another bowl combine the breadcrumbs with all the spices, grated apple, almonds and pinenuts.  Stir in to the egg mixture with the soaked dried fruit. When thoroughly combined spoon into the prepared basins and spread evenly.  Tap the bowls gently on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles then cover with a layer of greased greaseproof paper pleated in the middle to allow for expansion then foil (or use a snap-on lid).  Tie securely with string and loop the string across the top to make a handle for easy removal.

Steam or boil each pudding in a pan of boiling water:  stand each bowl on an upturned saucer or trivet then pour in boiling water from a kettle so the water comes two-thirds up the side of each bowl and leave to simmer gently for 3 hours, topping up with boiling water from time to time so the pans do not boil dry. Remove the bowls, leave to cool then cover with fresh greaseproof paper and foil and store in a cool dry place, or the fridge, for up to a month, or frozen for up to 3 months.

When ready to serve, steam or boil as before for 2 hours.  Turn out onto a platter and serve with cream, brandy butter or ice-cream.

what you will need

The mixture makes enough for 2 old-fashioned pint pudding basins. Each pudding cuts into 8 good slices.

Makes 2 puddings

100g ready-to-eat dried figs, chopped

350g luxury dried fruit mixture

The grated rind and juice of  1 large unwaxed lemon

2 tablespoons Apple Brandy, Calvados, or Brandy

60g unsalted butter, at room temperature

60g soft dark muscovado sugar

60g honey

2 large free-range eggs, beaten to mix

125g fresh white breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon ground mixed spice

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 medium apple (Cox’s for choice), cored and grated

100g chopped almonds

50g pinenuts

2 x 1 pint pudding basins, greased plus greaseproof paper, foil and string