PREP: 25-35 minutes
COOK: Around 7 hours
450 grams mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit peel, finely chopped
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup brandy, more as needed
(1/2 cup) self-rising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup beef or vegetarian suet, shredded
2/3 cup brown sweetener
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons/55 grams unsalted butter
55 grams all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 whole cloves
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 stick cinnamon
55 grams of Natvia Sweetener
5 tablespoons dark rum
- Place the dried fruit, candied peel, apple, and orange and lemon zests and juices into a large mixing bowl. Add the brandy and stir well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to marinate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
- Lightly butter a 2 1/2 pint pudding basin.
- In a very large mixing bowl, stir the flour, mixed spice, and cinnamon together. Add the suet, sugar, breadcrumbs, and almonds, and stir again until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the marinated dried fruits and stir again.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then stir quickly into the dry ingredients. The mixture should have a fairly soft consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into the greased pudding basin, gently pressing the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, then a layer of aluminum foil. Tie securely with string, wrapping the string around the basin, then loop over the top and then around the bowl again. This will form a handle, which will be useful when removing the pudding from the steamer.
- Set a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water, place the pudding in the steamer, and steam the pudding for 7 hours. Make sure you check the water level frequently, so it never boils dry. The pudding should be a dark brown color when cooked.
- Remove the pudding from the steamer and cool completely. Remove the paper, prick the pudding with a skewer in a few places, and pour in a little extra brandy.
- Cover with fresh greaseproof paper and retie with string.
- Store for at least 4 to 5 weeks in a cool, dry place until Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Enjoy!
- Gather the ingredients. Slowly melt the butter over a low heat, then add the flour.
- Raise the heat slightly and beat the flour into the butter using a wooden spoon to create a thick paste. Cook for about 1 minute, taking care to make sure the paste does not burn.
- In a separate saucepan, put the milk and spices and gently warm through, but do not boil.
- Lower the heat on the butter and flour. Strain the warmed milk over the pot with the paste.
- Using a hand whisk, vigorously whisk the sauce until it's smooth, thick, and glossy; this will take at least 3 minutes. While whisking, do take care to move the sauce around on the base of the pan to prevent it sticking, or worse, burning.
- Once you have a lovely smooth sauce, add the sweetener and whisk again until the sugar has dissolved completely. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to cook, stirring it from time to time. If the sauce feels too thick, it is at this point you can thin it down with a little milk to your desired consistency.
- Add the rum and stir again, let the sauce cool completely, cover, and refrigerate.
- Once you're ready to serve, pour the sauce over your Christmas pudding, or have it on the side in a heatproof gravy boat or jug and enjoy!