Boozy Steamed Pudding with Brandy Sauce. Embrace the flavours of Christmas with this traditional dessert.
1kg dried fruit (you will need to finely chop any larger pieces)
11⁄2 cups brandy, rum, bourbon, sherry, mulled red wine or Grand Marnier – or use a mixture
250g butter, softened (plus 20g extra, to brush)
1 cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 tbsp orange zest (optional)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1⁄2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup plain flour
1⁄2 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
Baking paper, foil and twine
Edible flowers, to garnish (optional)
1⁄3 cup (50g) plain flour
4-5 tbsp brandy (you can also use your preferred alcohol)
1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
Place the dried fruit in a large bowl. Pour over the alcohol, mix to combine and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a cool area to soak and macerate for 1-2 days, stirring occasionally.
Brush a 2L-capacity pudding basin with butter. Line the base with a circle of baking paper. Get a large saucepan with a lid, ensure that the pudding basin will easily fit. Also find a heatproof plate that will fit (upturned) in the bottom of the pot – a trivet can also be used. Half-fill the pan with water and bring to a simmer.
Place the butter, sugar and zest (if using) into a large bowl. Using electric hand beaters, beat until creamy and pale. Gradually add the eggs, about one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the bread crumbs, both flours and the spices. Mix in the soaked fruit until just combined, spoon into the prepared basin.
Cut a piece of baking paper and foil large enough to fit over the top and some of the sides of the basin. Place the foil on top of the paper and make a 2-3cm
fold in the centre. Place over the pudding (foil side up) and tie with twine to secure. Make a string handle, to make it easier to remove from the water.
Carefully lower the pudding into the simmering water. Top up with extra boiling water so it comes two-thirds of the way up the sides of the basin. Cover, simmer for 5 hours. Ensure that you check the water level every hour or so, and top up with extra boiling water when needed.
Once cooked, remove the pudding from the water. Allow to cool to room temperature, then remove the twine, paper and foil.
To make the brandy sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir in the flour, cook for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the alcohol and brown sugar.
Turn the pudding out onto a plate, drizzle with brandy sauce, top with flowers (if using). Slice, serve with extra brandy sauce.