Christmas pudding with citrus & spice

A fruity pud, served with orange custard cream, makes the perfect end to the traditional Christmas meal.

175g each raisin, currants and sultanas
140g whole glacé cherry
50g mixed peel
50g whole blanched almond
zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
150ml brandy
50ml/2fl oz orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
175g light muscovado sugar
175g fresh white breadcrumb
125g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
175g butter, frozen
2 eggs, beaten
butter, for greasing
holly sprig, to decorate

Mix the fruit, almonds, citrus zests and the carrot with the brandy and orange liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add to the soaked fruit mixture. Grate in the butter, then add the eggs and stir. Don’t forget to make a wish!

Grease a 1.5-litre pudding basin with butter and line the base with greaseproof paper. Spoon in the mixture, press down well and make a hollow with the back of the spoon in the centre. Cover the surface with a round of greaseproof paper, then cover the bowl with double-thickness greaseproof paper and foil and tie at the rim with string. Lower the pudding into a pan with an upturned saucer in the base, then fill with water until it comes halfway up the sides of the bowl. Steam for 6 hrs, topping up with water as necessary.

Alternatively, steam in the oven. Stand the pudding basin in a roasting tin filled with water, then cover with a tent of foil and cook for the same length of time at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Check roasting tin occasionally as the water may need to be topped up.

To store, allow to cool, then store in a cool, dry cupboard. The pudding will keep for up to a year.

On the day, steam for 1 hr before turning out, decorating with holly and serving with extra-thick double cream or vanilla ice cream. Alternatively, try my Orange custard cream (below).

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