Trish Deseine shares her secrets just in time for ‘stir-up Sunday’ …
This is my go-to recipe, adapted from cook and writer Thane Prince’s, which I love for its great texture – thanks in part to the ground almonds and breadcrumbs. It is everything a pudding should be. Rich, dark, fruity, boozy and spicy. The 24 hour soaking is so worthwhile, as the liquoricey flavour of the dark muscovado sugar combined with the alcohol has lots of time to seep into the fruit. If you start tonight or tomorrow morning, you’ll be in time for stir-up Sunday!
For a 2 pint pudding basin.
30 minutes preparation
24 hrs soaking time
5 1/2 hours steaming
4 weeks or so resting
100g plump dried prunes
75g dried cranberries
75g mixed candied citrus peel
50g candied ginger
125g dark muscovado sugar
125ml Guinness or other dark stout
A glass of whiskey and/or rum ( 6/8 tablespoons)
Grated zest of a lemon and an orange
125g whole blanched almonds
100g whole amarena or glacé cherries (or, as I like, a mix of both)
3 large eggs, beaten
100g white breadcrumbs
100g suet (I use vegetarian Atora)
100g ground almonds
50g plain flour
2 teaspoons sweet Garum Masala (or mixed spice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
Butter for greasing
Greaseproof paper, foil and string.
Put all the step 1 ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stir well, cover with cling film and leave to soak for 24 hours. Stirring from time to time.
When you are ready to start steaming the pudding, mix the almonds, cherries and beaten eggs into the fruit.
Combine all step 3 ingredients in a bowl, stir, then add them to the fruit. Mix very thoroughly.
Generously butter the inside of the pudding basin. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper for the base and butter it too. Set the paper into the basin before filling with the pudding mix, pressing down well. Cut another circle of paper slightly larger than the diameter of the top of the basin and cover the pudding, pressing into the corners to seal it with some paper overlapping.
Cut a largish square of paper, enough to easily cover the top of the bowl, and a piece of foil the same size. Put the foil square on the greaseproof paper, flatten them together and make a fold in the middle as you would for a paper fan. This allows the pudding to rise while steaming.
Set the two layers, greaseproof side down, fold in the middle, onto the pudding bowl and secure the edge with string to seal well. You can make a string handle at this stage, to help lift the pudding from the pan when cooked.
In a heavy based saucepan with a lid, deep enough to hold the pudding, set a saucer. Put the pudding bowl on the saucer and fill the pan with boiling water until it is barely a third of the way up the side of the pudding. Put the lid on and steam the pudding in simmering water for 5 ½ hours. Be very careful to top up the water regularly. (Sadly, I’m speaking from experience here !)
Remove the pudding from the pan. Take off the string and foil and greaseproof paper layer and leave to cool slightly before putting on the lid of the bowl if you have one, or simply wrapping well in dry greaseproof paper. Store in a dry, cool place until Christmas. Either steam for an hour or so or heat in the microwave for 3 minutes to serve.
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