85g| 3oz shredded vegetarian suet or softened unsalted butter
3tbspgrated dark chocolate
one cooking applepeeled and grated
85g| 3oz soft dark brown sugar
2tbspchopped mixed peel
55g| 2oz blanched almondsroughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
a little butter for greasing the pudding bowl
Put the dried fruit and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and simmer for three minutes. Leave to soak, uncovered, overnight.
Sift the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl.
Add the breadcrumbs, suet or butter, grated chocolate, apple, brown sugar, mixed peel, almonds, lemon and orange zest.
Mix well with your hands to ensure the mixture is fully blended together.
Stir in the soaked fruit, treacle, brandy and beaten egg. Stir in the Royal Mint Sixpence. It’s traditional for everyone to give the pudding a turn and make a wish or two.
Grease the pudding bowl, and pack the Christmas pudding mixture into it.
Cut one circle of greaseproof paper, a few inches bigger than the rim of the bowl. Fold a pleat into the centre and use a large elastic band to secure it over the pudding bowl.
Cover the top with a piece of tin foil then tie it tightly with string. Make a loop of string across the top, to fashion a handle, so the pudding can be easily lifted out of the pan.
If you are using a steaming pot, pour some water into the bottom of the stock pot – about one eighth full – so that the steamer basket sits in the bottom, just above the water level. Bring the water to the boil, and place the Christmas pudding in the basket.
If you don’t have a steamer basket, use a jam jar lid so that the pudding basin is kept away from direct contact with the base of the pot. Fill the pot with boiling water to come up halway up the side of the pudding basin.
Cover and steam at a gentle simmer for four hours. Keep an eye on pot and top up with boiling water if needed.
Lift the pudding out of the pot after four hours, keeping the greaseproof paper on – that way you can store the Christmas pudding for up to two months.
On Christmas Day, steam the pudding again for another two hours, and serve – perhaps with a sprig of holly on top.
If you want to light the pudding, heat 80ml (1/3 cup) brandy in a small saucepan and light it. Carefully pour the lighted brandy over the pudding (best serve it in a deep plate or stand so that excess brandy can pool at the bottom and not drip).
You can steam the pudding in your slow cooker instead of a pot, 3-4 hours on high. Be careful when serving the pudding, especially to children, and warn people about the lucky coin within! Might be best to wrap it in foil so that it is more visible.