This will be paler in colour and more citrus tasting which is my preference.
- 225g seedless raisins
- 225g dried cherries
- 100g sultanas
- 125g dried apricots
- 50g dried chopped dates or figs
- 75g dried pears
- 1 lemon, juice and grated zest
- 1 orange, juice and grated zest
- 225g white breadcrumbs
- 75g plain flour
- 1tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 225g shredded vegetable suet
- 225g soft dark brown sugar
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 55ml dark rum
- 55ml vermouth
- 75ml milk
1- Lightly grease your pudding basin and line the base with non-stick baking parchment. Put the raisins, cherries and sultanas in a large mixing bowl with the dried pear and dates (or figs) lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, breadcrumbs, flour, mixed spice, salt, suet and sugar. Stir the ingredients well to mix them all together nicely.
2- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, with the rum, the vermouth and milk. Add to the fruit mixture and stir really well so that the fruit and other ingredients are properly combined.
3- Spoon all the mixture into the pudding basin and cover the surface with a disc of greaseproof paper. Cover the whole basin with some more paper and foil, making a pleat in the centre to allow for expansion during cooking. Secure with some string.
4- Place the pudding basin into a large saucepan and pour enough boiling water in to come halfway up the basin. Bring up to the boil, cover the pan and boil steadily for 5 hours making sure the saucepan doesn't boil dry. Top up with boiling water if it looks like it's getting low.
5- Once cooked, remove from the pan and allow to cool completely. Re-cover with some fresh greaseproof paper and foil. Store in a cool, dark place for four weeks. You can always add a little more rum to the pudding if you like.
6- On Christmas day, reheat by steaming the pudding for 2 hours using the same technique described here. When your pudding is cooked, turn out onto a warmed serving dish. Warm some rum in a pan, and set it alight with a match. Pour this over the pudding and stick a sprig of holly in.