This lovely fruit Christmas pudding recipe has been in my family for years passed down from my grandmother and tweaked to my own liking. This recipe has no alcohol in it and tastes great. Its made with the traditional boiling of the pudding in a calico cloth and in our family we make it a month before Christmas and it's left to hang and mature. This recipe is quite big and can be halved without a problem . If you do, then boil your half size pudding for 2-3 hours.
Grate the zest off the three lemons and the orange and add to mixed fruit.
Squeeze the juice from the lemons and orange and pour over the fruit.
Add your spices and breadcrumbs to the fruit and mix well. Cover the bowl and leave to soak overnight.
Get a large pot big enough to hold your pudding with plenty of water and put an old saucer upside in it at the bottom (This is to stop the bottom of the pudding burning as it cooks). Put the water onto boil.
In an electric mixer bowl put your chopped up butter and the brown sugar and beat until its light in color and creamed well.
Add the eggs one at a time continuing to beat until they are well combined and the mixture has come back together.
Gradually add your flour and bicarb of soda mixing until it is well combined.
Remove your bowl from the electric mixer and with a wooden spoon mix in your fruit mixture until evenly mixed in. (It smells so good by now)
Dampen down your pudding cloth and and dust well with plain flour (this helps to produce a seal on the pudding and also helps to keep it from sticking too much to your cloth when it comes time to remove it.)
Spoon your mixture out onto the middle of the pudding and pull the corners up into the middle to produce a nice round bundle.
Tie the pudding shut tightly leaving 1cm space at the top for the pudding to expand as it cooks. (Do not use coloured string for this step or you will get nasty results)
Place the pudding into the pot. It is important that the water be boiling rapidly at this stage as you want it to cook not soak up the water and be a soggy pudding.
Boil for 4-5 hours continuing to top up the water in the pot with boiling water. The water should come to just under the string line on your pudding. It's a long process but well worth it.
If you are not eating your pudding straight away, allow pudding to cool and hang in a dry cool place out of direct sunlight.
When you're ready to eat it on Christmas Day, once again prepare your pot like you did to cook it but you will only need to boil your pudding for an hour to make it ready to eat. Pull your pudding out before eating and allow it to sit 10 mins before pulling the cloth off.
Serve with cream or custard, or as you like. Enjoy.
You can make smaller individual pudding out of this recipe. I have done this and made 12 handful sized ones and a larger pot sized one. An hour should do for the cooking of the smaller ones.
This recipe has been edited to include measures more familiar to Australian and New Zealand cooks.