Then after a trip to the dentist with Miss E, I got all the remaining ingredients ready and mixed them well, you need a really LARGE bowl for this, not the medium one used to soak the fruit.
Also once I remembered the orange I also acquired the (dreaded) white bread and took out 6 slices to dry out a bit before processing. Miss Y is over the moon to be allowed a slice of white bread today as this is a banned substance in our house.....
They dried out overnight.
From left clockwise: brown sugar,breadcrumbs,suet with flour,2 beated eggs in a mug and an apple about to be peeled and grated.
In a larger bowl, well mixed it looks like this! And then transferred to the 2 pudding basins:
The small one's kept for any special event, New Year's Eve, a visit during Christmas or for Boxing Day...The big one is IT for Christmas Day.
I cut 2 squares of baking parchment and 1 square of foil per basin, place on top of each other: 30 cm square for the small one and 38cm by 45 cm for the bigger one. Fold in half and fold back on itself to create a 2-3 cm deep pleat in the centre. This is to allow it to expand during steaming.
Tuck layers over basin with the foil on the outside. Ohhh I forgot, you grease the basins with butter before putting the mixture in. Ooopsie. The pic above is the small basin.
Cut a length of string: aboit 1.8m and fold in half, run the double strands around the basin just below the rim and thread the ends through the loop at the centre: can you see?
Now comes the tricky bit: while keeping the string as taut and tight as possible, thread some over the top along the centre and under the string collar at the opposite side, then pull it as tight as you can and knot it in place. This forms the handle to remove the basin after steaming.
I do a series of half-knots along the handle with the spare string. Very macrame style, see above.
Trim foil and paper to about 3-4 cm below string. Put into pan with a well fitting lid and onto a heat-proof saucer or trivet.( these are inside the pan for the pudding basin to sit on!)
I have broken many ''old'' saucers over the years and now use a metal cookie cutter to keep the basin off the base of the pan. Amusingly I used an angel cookie cutter this year...To keep watch over the pudding and it's secret surprise....
Fill pan halfway up basin with boiling water, fit lid and steam for 4-5 hours for the large one and 2-3 hours for the smaller one. Keep checking the water level but a strong simmering setting should suffice. Leave to cool and then cut way the foil and paper and replace with an identical fresh set.
Leave in a cool dry place for - recipe says 2 months- up to 6 months is what I have done in the past and all was well.
To reheat on the day:
Steam for 2 hours or remove the foil and paper and reheat in microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on size and power of microwave.
To serve: run a flat bladed knife around edge and turn it out onto a decorative plate.
Pour over some gently heated brandy and carefully light this with a taper if so desired; carry into a darkened room for maximum effect.
Serve with brandy cream or brandy butter or ( for the children) vanilla ice cream.......( home-made?!)
MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm DELICIOUSLY FRUITY!!!!
( fresh cream or home made vanilla custard can also be used)