225g fresh beef suet or dried vegetarian suet
275g breadcrumbs (sourdough or brioche)
225g self-raising flour
450g dark brown muscovado sugar
350g sultanas
350g Muscatel raisins
450g currants
500g candied mixed fruit peel
450g glacé cherries
225g flaked almonds
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 whole nutmeg, finely grated
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
6 large eggs
425ml stout
6 tablespoons brandy, plus 1 tablespoon per pudding per month
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Christmas Pudding

SERVES: 8 - 10

Makes three 900g puddings.

Always make at least three Christmas puddings. One for Christmas Day, one to remind yourself how good it was a few days later and one to keep for the following year or to give as a present. My grandmother always insisted that
we fry leftover Christmas pudding in brandy butter. This is her recipe. In the early days of the business and before I could afford to buy a fancy steam oven, I would steam hundreds of puddings on the stove at home day and night. To
help, my grandmother would insist on steaming half of them, asking me to drop them off at her house after my farmers’ market nearby. All this during the peak of a warm British summer in London – a pudding made in the summer, given a little drink of brandy each month and time to settle, is a far better pudding.

Place all the ingredients, except for the flour and eggs, into a large  bowl and stir to combine. Cover and leave for 1–2 days for the ingredients to acquaint themselves with each other.

A day or so later add the flour and the eggs. Give the mixture another stir and divide evenly between three 1-litre pudding basins. Cover with baking parchment and then foil. Secure with string under the rim and make a loop over the top to form a handle.

Steam for 9 hours in a large pan of boiling water, making sure the water does not boil away.

When cooked, leave to cool, then add 1 tablespoon brandy to each pudding and replace the baking parchment  and foil. Store in a cool-dry place repeating the 1 tablespoon brandy per pudding every month until Christmas.

When ready to eat, steam each pudding  for at least  a further 3 hours before serving.

Tip: It is essential that you steam the pudding  for 9 hours at first, and a further 3 hours on the day of eating to create a really light and tasty pudding. If you don’t, my granny will come knocking.