55gflaked almondsomit if necessary, hazelnuts or walnuts
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
225gfresh white breadcrumbs
300mlale or stout
Put the fruit in a bowl with 3oz of brandy or apple cider, cover and leave overnight.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and spices, stir in the butter or suet, fruit, sugar, lemon, marmalade and breadcrumbs.
Beat the eggs, then stir in, along with the ale.
Butter two 30 oz pudding basins or large stainless bowls , fill with cake mix and cover with a layer each of greased paper and foil, both pleated in the middle to allow for expansion. Secure with string.
Put a metal jam-jar lid or tart tin in the bottom of a large pan, put the basins on top and pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides. Cover, simmer gently for six hours (top up the water as necessary), then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. When cold, remove the paper and foil, poke holes in the top of the puddings and add more brandy or apple cider.
Tightly wrap in plastic wrap and store in a cool, dry place.
On serving day wrap pudding in a double layer of plastic wrap and simmer for two to three hours. Turn out, flame with warmed brandy and serve with brandy butter ( 1/2 cup soft butter, 1/4 cup soft icing sugar and a splosh of apple brandy beaten until smooth). Also excellent served with your favourite custard sauce.
Nothing beats a traditional plum puddings over the holiday season. It's rich deep flavour pairs great with many red wines, port or brandy.