All the dried ingredients are mixed together, the chopped apples added, followed by the eggs, citrus juices, beer and Brandy. It's really quite boozy. Why have I never had this before? Once combined the loose, floppy mixture is left overnight to rest and become a firmer, thicker mixture as the breadcrumbs expand.
Next day the mixture is pressed into the buttered moulds (or large bowl, or indeed sieve), covered with greased butter papers (please don't do as Fanny does on TV and shamefully show the label) or ordinary squares of oiled greaseproof paper, cover again with foil, secure with string, tie a handle and steam. As mine as individual I am using my electric steamer, which is very rarely used but is perfect here as I can get three layers. Fanny of course uses a steriliser which is very large and deep but any large pot would do.
Fanny steams her pudding for 10 whole hours at first, my smaller ones take just 3, and then they are left to cool, stored away for a few weeks somewhere to mature until the Christmas feast. When they are required, on Christmas Day, they need to be steamed again - the large one for 3 hours, my individual ones just for an hour. Fanny wants us all to have the drama of wow-ing our guests with a flaming pudding, something to upset the neighbours and put their nose out of joint. Her trick is to use a mixture of Brandy and Vodka for the flame to give a longer burn time. This is something she often used when doing her demonstrations at the Royal Albert a Hall and such like, so if it's good enough for that it's grand for me. I have been making some fresh Cranberry Vodka this year, so this seems like the perfect time to crack it open. More booze!
The alcohol needs to be warmed gently, over a mere thread of heat. Fanny suggests until you can just feel the heat with your (spotlessly clean, before anyone thinks of writing in to complain) fingers, ouch. Fanny recommends training a friend to carry the flaming pudding to the table wiggling it all the time, which gives a boost of oxygen and keeps the flames going. I presume Fanny makes poor darling Sarah do this, as she points out on TV she gets VERY nervous in front of the camera and her hands tremble so badly - this sounds perfect. My first ever Christmas Pudding is lovely, very, very boozy and surprisingly light to taste as always with Fanny. Fanny serves hers with green coloured Brandy butter and tiny scraps of angelica and glacé cherry. Of course. Merry Christmas one and all, hic...
I've linked this post up other Fresh Cranberry recipes over at Blue Kitchen Bakes hosted by Jen - pop over for a look http://bluekitchenbakes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/fresh-cranberry-recipe-link-up.html