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This Christmas pudding is so yum! My favourite part of our festive lunch.

It's my partner's Grandma's recipe. Without fail she would make it in October, plenty of time for the brandy flavours to steep.

She's written on the recipe "NO BREAD CRUMBS" and was very proud of the fact it was crumb-free. I think that means it's completely packed with yumminess, no crappy filler.

I use all organic dried fruit and make my own mixed peel, but you don't have to.

You need to prepare the calico cloth the day before.

Using about 3/4 yard of unbleached calico, cut into a square. Soak overnight in cold water. Next day boil for 30 minutes, allow to dry. 

Ingredients:

250g raisins

60g glace figs

125g mixed peel

375g sultanas

125g currants

2/3 cup brandy (or more)

310g butter

1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar (firmly packed)

5 eggs

2 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon mixed spice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Method:

Chop raisins, figs and mixed peel to same size as sultanas. Combine with currants, sultanas and brandy. Set aside while preparing creamed mixture.

Beat butter until smooth, add brown sugar and beat until just combined, do not over cream. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Add creamed mixture to fruit, mix thoroughly with wooden spoon. 

Add sifted dry ingredients, mix well.

Put mixture in centre of dry pudding cloth. Gather the corners and sides around the mixture. Tie firmly with cotton string 1 inch above the mixture to allow for expansion. Tie knot in end of string as a handle.

Prepare a large boiler of water. There must be enough rapidly boiling water to float the pudding. Lower pudding into water and put on the lid. Boil rapidly for 6 hours. Replenish pot with boiling water about every 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly the level lowers. Water should never go off the boil, so pudding remains floating the whole time.

After 6 hours, lift pudding from water, allow to drain by suspending from a cupboard door or leg of upturned stool. Pudding should be allowed to swing freely. Tie ends of wet cloth together so they don't touch the pudding. 

When completely cold and dry store in refrigerator until required, although I leave mine hanging inside for about a month in dry conditions, not in direct sun, and it seems fine. Unless you have high humidity, then not so good.

On Christmas Day, boil for 2 hours to reheat. This is not extra cooking time and if serving pudding cold, this 2 hours is not necessary.

Serve with your choice of hard brandy sauce, fresh cream, custard or ice cream. They're all yum!