- 1 cup (150g) raisins, chopped coarsely
- 1 cup (160g) sultanas
- 1 cup (150g) finely chopped seeded dried dates
- 1/2 cup (95g) finely chopped seeded prunes
- 1/2 cup (85g) mixed peel
- 1/2 cup (125g) finely chopped glacé apricots
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon apricot jam
- 2 tablespoon brandy
- 250 gram butter, softened
- 2 cup (440g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/4 plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and mixed spice
- 4 cup (280g) stale breadcrumbs
- 1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour, extra
- 6 30cm (12-inch) squares unbleached calico (see tips)
- 1Combine fruit, rind, juice, jam and brandy in large bowl. Cover; stand in cool, dark place for one week, stirring every day.
- 2Beat butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix butter mixture into fruit mixture. Stir in sifted dry ingredients and breadcrumbs.
- 3Fill boiler three-quarters full of hot water, cover with tight lid; bring to the boil. Have ready 1-metre length of kitchen string. Wearing thick rubber gloves, dip pudding cloths, one at a time, into boiling water; boil 1 minute then remove, squeeze excess water from cloth. Spread hot cloths on bench; rub 2 tablespoons of the extra flour into centre of each cloth to cover an area about 18cm in diameter, leaving flour a little thicker in centre of cloth where "skin" on the pudding needs to be thickest.
- 4Divide pudding mixture equally among cloths; placing in centre of each cloth. Gather cloths around mixture, avoiding any deep pleats; pat into round shapes. Tie cloths tightly with string as close to mixture as possible. Tie loops in string. Lower three puddings into the boiling water. Cover, boil 2 hours, replenishing with boiling water as necessary to maintain water level.
- 5Lift puddings from water using wooden spoons through string loops. Do not put puddings on bench; suspend from spoon by placing over rungs of upturned stool or wedging the spoon in a drawer. Twist ends of cloth around string to avoid them touching puddings; hang 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining puddings.
- 6Place puddings on board; cut string, carefully peel back cloth. Turn puddings onto plates then carefully peel cloth away completely. Stand at least 20 minutes or until skin darkens and pudding becomes firm.
You need six 30cm squares of unbleached calico for each pudding cloth. If the calico has not been used before, soak it in cold water overnight; the next day, boil it for 20 minutes then rinse in cold water. Puddings can be cooked in two boilers or in batches; the mixture will keep at room temperature for several hours. Top puddings with a slice of glacé orange, if you like. It is available from gourmet and health-food stores. This recipe makes six generous single servings.
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