8oz./225g. seedless raisins
5oz./140g. prunes, stoned and chopped (Agen, if you can get them)
2oz./55g. candied peel or - better - chunks of preserved ginger in syrup
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
4oz./110g. soft dark brown sugar
4 tblsps. golden syrup, or a mixture of golden syrup and the ginger syrup (see above)
8oz./225g. fresh white breadcrumbs
6oz./170g. beef or vegetable suet
15fl.oz./425ml. Guinness or dark ale
5 tblsps. brandy
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
4oz./110g. ground almonds
Wash the dried fruit first if desired by putting it into a colander, coating it with a handful of flour, then running it under cold water until the water runs clear.
Mix all the ingredients together and leave to stand overnight - the fruit will absorb much of the liquid and the finished pudding will be very moist.
Lightly oil two 2-pint pudding basins with groundnut oil, and fill with the mixture to about an inch below the rim. Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper, and then muslin or foil, secured tightly under the rim with string (make a handle, too).
Steam the puddings for 4 1/2 or 5 hours (we leave them in the Aga's simmering oven overnight) checking from time to time that the water hasn't boiled dry. Allow to cool and store away until needed.
On Christmas morning, steam for another 2 1/2 to 3 hours.