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The tradition is that every member of the family stirs the pudding mixture while making a wish.... Bissell/Levy suggest serving this with crème fraîche, rather than the traditional brandy butter
- 230 g (8 oz, 4 loosely packed cups) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 230 g (8 oz, 2 cups) each of roughly chopped muscatel (black) raisins, sultanas (yellow raisins) and dried apricots
- 60 g (2 oz, ¾ cup) crumbled almond macaroons or amaretti
- 60 g (2 oz, ¾ cup) chopped almonds
- 60 g (2 oz, ½ cup) ground or flaked almonds
- 1 grated apple
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground mace
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 2 tbsp orange marmalade or candied orange peel
- juice of 1 orange
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- 6 tbsp or 1 miniature bottle of cognac
- 140 ml (5 fl oz, scant ⅔ cup) fortified muscat wine, port marsala or rich Oloroso sherry
- Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Put the marmalade, orange juice, eggs, brandy and wine in another large bowl, or in the blender or food processor, and beat until well blended and frothy.
- Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients.
- Mix until moist.
- Cover, and let stand for a couple of hours at least and, if possible, overnight to let the spice flavours develop.
- oil or butter the pudding basin and spoon in the mixture.
- As it contains no raw flour, it will not expand very much during the cooking, so you can fill the basin to within 1.25 cm (½ inch) of the rim.
- Take a square of greaseproof or waxed paper, oil or butter it, and tie it over the top of the basin with string.
- Steam in boiling water for 5 hours.
- Allow pudding to cool completely before wrapping it, still in its basin, in fresh greaseproof paper plus a layer of foil.
- Store in a cool dark place.
- On Christmas Day, steam for a further two hours.