Traditionally I make this on 31st August every year, which was the birthday of my childrens’ great-grandmother and who said it was lovely, and I make it in the 1.5l pudding basin which belonged to my own grandmother. Therefore around these parts it’s known as “Grandma’s Christmas Pud”, though we never specify which Grandma!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Steam time: 5 hours plus cooling and chilling.
Makes a 1.5l pudding to serve 8

Keeps in an airtight container for up to 6 months. To serve, steam for 1 hour and serve piping hot with brandy doused over.

100g ready-to-eat dried figs, roughly chopped
150g sultanas
150g raisins
150g currants
50g chopped mixed peel
1 Bramley apple, peeled cored and coarsely grated
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
50ml Guinness
50ml brandy
150g self-raising flour
2tsp mixed spice
1tsp freshly grated nutmeg
175g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
3 medium eggs lightly beaten
100g molasses sugar

1. Put the dried fruits, peel, apple, lemon zest, Guinness and brandy into a large bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, spices, and a pinch of salt.

2. Melt the butter in a small pan, then allow to cool slightly. Pour over the dried fruit mixture, then add the breadcrumbs, eggs, molasses sugar and spiced flour. Mix well.

3. Grease and base line a 1.5l pudding basin. Tip in the pudding mixture and level the surface. Cut a circle of foil larger than the top of the pudding basin and make a pleat down the centre. Use to cover the pudding and secure in place with a string – tie this around the basin rim, loop over the pudding, and tie at the other side to make a handle.

4. Put an upturned saucer in the base of a deep saucepan. Sit the basin on top and fill the pan with boiling water to come halfway up the basin. Cover the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and steam the pudding for 5 hours keeping the water level topped up.

5. Using the tie-handle carefully remove the basin from the saucepan. Set aside to cool. Cover with clean foil and store in a cool place for up to 6 months. I skewer the pudding and douse it with a little brandy every few weeks so it can absorb the alcohol.

6. To reheat, place on an upturned saucer in a large saucepan of simmering water. Cook for 1 hour or until piping hot throughout. You can usually start this off when you serve the main course out (and free up the gas hob a bit!).