Dan Beasley-Harling: “For me, there’s only one way to eat Christmas pudding, and that’s with a generous helping of brandy butter. And as for any leftovers, try cutting a slice and frying it in butter! So bad, but so good!"
- Place the mixed dried fruit, chopped dried apricots and port into a large bowl, and mix well.
- Cover the bowl and set aside overnight - this will allow the dried fruits to plump up and absorb the port.
- The next day, add all the remaining ingredients into the fruit. Stir everything together well.
- This is a great time to solicit help from every member of the family, to stir in their wishes for the coming year!
- Grease a 3 pint (1.7 litre) plastic pudding basin generously with butter, remembering to grease the inside of the lid as well.
- Press the mixture down firmly into the pudding basin, ensuring that there are no air pockets.
- If you have a lucky sixpence to add to the pudding, do this now; Insert the coin vertically, so that it’s more likely to be hidden within a slice when served.
- Smooth over the surface of the pudding as much as possible, and then add a circle of baking parchment on top.
- Affix the lid of the pudding basin, and then wrap it in a couple of layers of aluminium foil.
- Place the pudding basin into a lidded flameproof pan that is large enough to enclose it completely.
- Add enough water to go halfway up the pudding basin, and then bring the water to a boil. When the water is boiling, turn the heat down low and put on the lid.
- Simmer the pudding for 5 hours.
- After 5 hours, turn off the heat, and carefully remove the pudding, leaving it to cool until it can be comfortably handled.
- Remove the foil and dry the pudding basin thoroughly, then re-warp in fresh foil and store until needed.
- When you are ready to eat your pudding, place it into a water bath as before. This time, steam the pudding for 3 hours, until it is fully heated through.
Then invert onto a serving plate, and enjoy!
(And remember to warn your guests about the lucky sixpence if you added one!)