Best ever Christmas pudding!
"This is one of the best Christmas puddings I’ve made and scoffed. It is light and moist with the right amount of sweetness. Serve with simple vanilla crème anglaise or a good ice cream such as Vin Santo, roasted mandarin or rum and raisin," says author and chef Jason Atherton.
Butter for greasing
225g breadcrumbs (fresh or from day-old bread)
115g Bramley apples, peeled, cored and grated
115g carrots, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon mixed spice
30g plain flour
3 medium eggs
For the soaked fruits
30g candied orange peel
30g candied lemon peel
225g light brown sugar
3–4 tablespoons chopped candied peel (optional)
Vanilla crème anglaise, Vin Santo ice cream, roasted mandarin ice cream or rum and raisin ice cream
1. Put all the dried fruits, candied peel and sugar into a large bowl and pour over the Guinness and brandy. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film and leave the fruits to macerate overnight.
2. The next day, find a pan that is large enough to fit four 500g heatproof plastic pudding moulds for steaming. Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Generously butter the pudding moulds and their matching lids.
3. Put the breadcrumbs, suet, apples, carrots, mixed spice and flour in a large mixing bowl and stir together. Make a well in the centre. Lightly beat the eggs and pour into the well. Add the soaked fruits with any soaking alcohol left in the bowl and fold together until the mixture is well combined. It should be quite wet. If your mixture appears a little dry, add a little splash of brandy and fold through.
4. Divide the mixture among the prepared pudding moulds. Level the tops, then cover with the buttered lids. To make sure that the moulds are watertight, cover each one tightly with cling film. Lower the pudding moulds into the pan, then pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds. Cover the pan with a lid and steam over medium heat for 5 hours, making sure to check the water level in the pan from time to time (you may need to top up with more boiling water from the kettle).
5. When the time is up, carefully lift the pudding moulds out of the pan and leave them to cool completely, still covered. Then remove all the cling film and keep the puddings in a cool, dry place until you want to serve them.
6. To serve each pudding, reheat by steaming for 2 hours. Take off the lid and turn out on to a cake plate. Garnish the top of the pudding with a spoonful of chopped candied peel, then flame with brandy or vodka, if you wish. Serve immediately, with crème anglaise or ice cream.