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Rich Steamed Christmas Pudding

The pudding can be made up to three months ahead and kept refrigerated or made up to one year ahead and frozen.

1½ cups (250g) raisins
1½ cups (250g) sultanas
1 2/3 cups (250g) currants
2 tablespoons sweet sherry
1 medium (170g) apple, peeled, grated
1 medium (120g) carrot, peeled, grated
½ cup (60g) ground almonds
1½ cups (300g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
250g butter, grated
4 cups (280g) stale breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
4 eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine raisins, sultanas and currants with sherry in a large bowl; mix well. Cover and stand overnight, or for several days, stirring occasionally.

Add apple, carrot, almonds, sugar, butter, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and flour; mix well.

Beat the eggs with rind and juice, stir into the mixture.

Grease pudding steamer (2 litre/8 cup capacity), line base with baking paper. Spoon pudding mixture into prepared steamer. Place a 30cm x 40cm sheet of foil on bench, grease foil; top with a sheet of baking paper. Fold a 5cm pleat crossways through the centre of both sheets.

Place sheets, baking-paper-side-down over steamer, secure firmly with string or lid. Crush surplus foil and baking paper firmly around rim to help form a good seal; trim any excess.

Place the pudding in a large boiler with enough boiling water to come halfway up side of steamer. Cover boiler with a tight-fitting lid; steam for 6 hours. Replenish with boiling water as necessary to maintain boil and water level during cooking. Stand pudding for 15 minutes before turning out.

Wrap the pudding thoroughly in plastic wrap then place into an airtight container or freezer bag. Refrigerate puddings for up to three months or freeze for one year.

Thaw frozen puddings for 2 days in the refrigerator and remove them from the refrigerator 12 hours before reheating.

STEAMED: Remove the plastic wrap and return to the steamer. Steam for 2 hours following the cooking instructions.

BOILED: Remove the plastic wrap and tie a clean, dry unfloured cloth on the pudding. Boil for 2 hours following the cooking instructions.

TO MICROWAVE: To reheat the whole large pudding, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, microwave on medium (50%) for about 15 minutes. To reheat 4 single serves at once, cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap; microwave on high (100%) for about 3 minutes.

Source: Australian Woman's Weekly
Date: January 12, 2005