This is because the pudding cannot be eaten immediately; it needs to be stored and rested, then reheated on Christmas Day.
Eating the pudding immediately after cooking will cause it to collapse, and the flavours will not have had time to mature.
What you will need
- 450g dried mixed fruit
- 25g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
- 1 small cooking apple, peeling, cored and finely chopped
- Grated zest and juice of ½ large orange and ½ lemon
- 4 tbsp brandy, plus a little extra for soaking at the end
- 55g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 level tsp ground mixed spice
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 110g shredded suet, beef or vegetarian
- 110g soft, dark brown sugar
- 110g white fresh bread crumbs
- 25g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 large, fresh eggs
How to make it
- Lightly butter a 1.4-litre pudding basin (2½ pint).
- Place the dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange and lemon juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the brandy and stir well. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to marinate for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
- Stir together the flour, mixed spice, and cinnamon in a very large mixing bowl. Add the suet, sugar, lemon and orange zest, bread crumbs, nuts and stir again until all the ingredients are well mixed. Finally add the marinated dried fruits and stir again.
- Beat the eggs lightly in a small bowl then stir quickly into the dry ingredients. The mixture should have a fairly soft consistency.
- Now is the time to gather the family for Christmas Pudding tradition of taking turns in stirring, making a wish and adding a few coins.
- Spoon the mixture into the greased pudding basin, gently pressing the mixture down with the back of a spoon. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, then a layer of aluminum foil and tie securely with string.
- Place the pudding in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water and steam the pudding for 7 hours. Make sure you check the water level frequently, so it never boils dry. The pudding should be a dark brown color when cooked. The pudding is not a light cake but instead is a dark, sticky and dense sponge.
- Remove the pudding from the steamer, cool completely. Remove the paper, prick the pudding with a skewer and pour in a little extra brandy. Cover with fresh greaseproof paper and re-tie with string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas day.
- On Christmas day reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Serve with Brandy or Rum Sauce, Brandy Butter or Custard. Leftover Christmas pudding can be reheated by wrapping tightly in aluminum foil and heating through in a hot oven.