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Suet-Free Christmas Pudding: serves 8 -10 (V)
9 oz (250g) plump raisins
9 oz (250g) currants
4 oz (100g) dried cherries
7 oz (200g) fresh wholewheat breadcrumbs
4 oz (100g) soft brown sugar
2 oz (50g) ground almonds
1 oz (25g) chopped candied peel
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp mixed spice
half tsp cinnamon
3 large eggs
5 fl oz (150ml) sherry or port
Put all the fruits in a bowl together with the sugar, ground almonds, breadcrumbs, candied peel, lemon zest and spices. Beat the eggs with the sherry or port (or if you wish omit the booze and use lemon juice - this blends well with brandy, so this could be used as an alternative booze) then pour this over the fruit etc. Mix very well together then spoon into a greased 2 pint (1.2lt) basin that has been base-lined with buttered paper . Lay a fitting circle of greased greaseproof paper over the top, then cover the bowl with greaseproof then foil tied on tightly.
Stand the basin in a saucepan and pour in boiling water to come halfway up the basin. Keep the water at the simmer cover and steam for 3 hours, topping up with more boiling water if needed. Leave pudding to get cold before removing foil and paper, then re-cover with fresh paper and foil. Store in a cool place.
On the day, steam for 2 hours before serving. Serve with brandy sauce.