Nothing beats home-made Christmas pudding. I love it hot or cold, with lashings of cream, but the brandy and rum crème anglaise is even more special.
YOU WILL NEED
50g (2oz) plain flour
½ tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
225g (8oz) sultanas
175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
175g (6oz) butter, melted, extra for
175g (6oz) light muscovado sugar
175g (6oz) raisins
50g (2oz) currants
50g (2oz) candied mixed peel
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
½ apple, peeled, cored and diced
½ small carrot, grated
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
300ml (½ pint) stout
Fresh redcurrant sprigs, to decorate
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Brandy and rum crème anglaise to serve
Sift together the flour, mixed spice, cloves and nutmeg. Add the sultanas, breadcrumbs, melted butter, sugar, raisins, currants, mixed peel, almonds, apple, carrot and the lemon rind and juice and mix until well combined. Gradually add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly, followed by the stout. Mix everything thoroughly and cover with a clean tea towel, then leave in a cool place overnight.
Grease 2 x 1.2 litre (2 pints) pudding bowls and fill with the fruit mixture. Cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and tin foil, then tie tightly under the rim with string. Store in a cool, dry place for up to four months.
To cook, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/gas mark 2) and stand each pudding basin in a large cake tin three-quarters full of boiling water. Cook for 6-8 hours (or you can steam them for 6 hours in the usual way).
Allow to cool, then re-cover with clean greaseproof paper. Again, store in a cool, dry place.
On Christmas Day, re-cover with new greaseproof paper and foil. Steam for 2-3 hours, until completely cooked through.
Decorate with redcurrant sprigs and a light dusting of icing sugar, if using.
To serve, cut the plum pudding into slices and arrange on serving plates.
Have a separate jug of the brandy and rum crème anglaise so that everyone can help themselves.