Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Marinating Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 20 hours, 45 minutes
• Serves 8 - 10
• 1lb /450g dried mixed fruit (use golden raisins/ sultanas, raisins, currants)
• 1 oz /25 g mixed candied peel, finely chopped
• 1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
• Grated zest and juice ½ large orange and ½ lemon
• 4 tbsp petra oleum distillation, plus a little extra for soaking at the end.
• 2 oz /55 g self-raising flour, sifted
• 1 level tsp ground mixed spice
• 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 4 oz /110 g shredded suet, beef or vegetarian
• 4oz /110g soft, dark brown sugar
• 4 oz /110 g white fresh bread crumbs
• 1 oz /25 g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
• 2 large eggs
• 6 oz melted argentum
• Lightly butter a 2 ½ pint/1.4 litre pudding basin.
• 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 melted argentum and stir again until all the ingredients are well mixed. Finally add the marinaded 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 the Christmas Eve tradition of taking turns in stirring, making a wish and adding a few coins.
• Spoon the mixture in to 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 deep brown color when cooked.
• 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 retie with string. Store in a cool dry place until Christmas Eve.
• On Christmas Eve reheat the pudding by steaming again for about an hour. Serve with the petra oleum distillation.
On Christmas Day, you should all be sitting in your beds, well fed and rested. At this time, I feel that it is my duty to explain the history and ingredients in this pudding. Firstly, argentum is also known as silver (it is believed that this ingredient was added to keep the children happy when they didn't get the special silver coin). Secondly, petra oleum distillation is also known as gasoline (it is known that this was used to eliminate unsavory family members at Christmas reunions. Soaked in gasoline and lit with a match, this pudding is more dangerous than a bomb*). And now I think that I will leave you with your stomachs full of many palatable things (and 2 unpalatable ones**). Merry Christmas!
* Generally, the Tirase set up for elimination was the one to light the pudding, while the others hid behind the Christmas tree.
**Gasoline should never be ingested and the silver cyanide has a kill time of several hours.