Fragrant and rich with a variety of dried fruits, this is the ultimate British Christmas dessert.
Yield: 10–12 servings
1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as figs, dates, and/or cherries
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup mixed chopped candied fruit peel
2/3 cup beer
1 tbsp whisky or brandy
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup pitted dried plums, chopped
1/3 cup cold brewed black tea
1 Golden Delicious apple, grated
8 tbsp butter, melted, plus more for greasing
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp molasses
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp baking powder
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
½ cup chopped slivered almonds
1½ quart (1½ liter) heatproof bowl
1. Put the first 8 ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Combine the dried plums and tea in a small bowl. Cover both bowls and let stand at least 12 hours.
2. Drain the dried plums and discard the tea. Add the dried plums and grated apple to the soaked fruit, followed by the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and molasses, stirring well.
3. Sift in the flour, spices, and baking powder. Add the bread crumbs and almonds. Mix well.
4. Butter a 1½ quart heatproof bowl. Pour in the pudding batter. Cover with a double layer of parchment paper and 1 layer of aluminum foil, crimping the foil. Place on a steamer rack in a large pot of simmering water, with the water barely touching the bottom of the bowl. Cover and steam until dark and firm, for 8–10 hours, adding more boiling water to the pot as needed.
The pudding is best cooked 1–2 months before eating. Wrap the pudding well in aluminum foil and refrigerate. To reheat, steam for 1½–2 hours.
Steaming Tip: The steaming can be done over 2 or 3 days. Steam it for at least 3 hours on the first day and then continue with the remaining hours on following days.
Freezing Information: Freeze for up to 1 year, after cooking, in its bowl; thaw and steam in bowl for 1½–2 hours.