Christmas Pudding

Ingredients

  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 150g currants
  • 50g ready-to-eat dried figs, cut to the same size as the sultanas
  • 50g chopped candied peel
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 50ml brandy
  • Finely grated zest 2 oranges, plus 50ml juice
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g each light and dark muscovado sugar
  • 100g orange-flavoured dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 175g slightly salted butter, melted
  • 200g chocolate panettone
  • 1 large bramley apple (about 300g)
  • 3 large free-range eggs, beaten

Method

Put the dried fruit and peel in a bowl, mix with the brandy, orange zest and juice, cover and set aside overnight to soak. Sift the flour, spices and salt into another bowl and stir in the sugar and chocolate. Cover with cling film and set aside with the fruit.

The next day, cut 2 discs of non-stick baking paper: one to fit into the base of the basin and a larger one to fit just inside the top rim (use the basin as a template). Brush the inside of the basin with a little melted butter and put the smaller disc of paper in the base. (If using 2 smaller basins, cut out 4 discs using the basins as a template.)

Cut the panettone into pieces and whizz in a food processor into coarse crumbs using the pulse button. (Alternatively rub the panettone to crumbs on the coarse side of a box grater.) Peel, core and coarsely grate the apple. Stir the apple, remaining melted butter, panettone crumbs and beaten eggs into the dried fruit mixture, followed by the flour mixture. Spoon into the pudding basin(s) and press the larger disc(s) of paper onto the surface.

To wrap the pudding(s) for steaming (for a single large basin), tear off one rectangular length of non-stick baking paper and an equal-size length of foil. With the shorter ends facing you, make a 5cm wide pleat across the centre of each (they should now be almost square – this will give the pudding space to expand as it cooks). Lay the paper over the top of the basin and press it down over the sides (another pair of hands is useful here). Cut a piece of kitchen string to about 1.5m, fold in half and wrap it around the basin just beneath the rim. Pass the 2 ends through the loop and pull it tight. Separate the 2 strands, then wrap in opposite directions back around the basin and tie on the opposite side in a tight knot. Trim the paper to within 5cm of the string, then trim off the ends of the string. Repeat with the foil, using a 2m length of string (this will also make a handle). Once you have tied a tight knot, pass the 2 pieces of string loosely over the top of the basin, poke them under the string on the opposite side, pass back over the basin and tie securely in place. Leave a little slack in the handle as the pudding will rise when it cooks. (Use the same method if making 2 smaller puddings; standard size foil will suffice.)

To steam, sit an upturned saucer or petal steamer in the bottom of a large, lidded saucepan deep enough to comfortably hold the basin with space to spare. Sit the pudding on the saucer and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basin, to just below the edges of the paper and foil. Cover the pan and leave to steam for 3 hours, checking the water level every hour, topping up with boiling water as needed, until a skewer comes out clean. 

Carefully turn out the pudding onto a warmed plate and cut into wedges to serve.