Make this pudding a couple of months before Christmas day. Feed it with booze regulary for the flavours to develop.
225g/8oz golden caster sugar
225g/8oz vegetarian suet
110g/4oz candied peel, chopped
110g/4oz plain flour
110g/4oz fresh white breadcrumbs
55g/2oz flaked almonds
1 lemon, zest only
5 eggs, beaten
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 level tsp mixed spice
5g/1 level tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
150ml/5fl oz brandy or rum
Lightly grease 4x600ml/1 pint or 2x1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basins.
Mix together all the dry ingredients.
Stir in the eggs and brandy and mix well.
Spoon the mix into basins. Put a circle of baking parchment and foil over the top of each basin and tie securely with string. Make a string handle from one side of the basin to the other so it is easier to pick the basin out of the pan after cooking.
Put the basins in a large steamer of boiling water and cover with a lid. Boil for 5-6 hours, topping the boiling water up from time to time, if necessary. If you do not have a steamer, put the basins in a large pan on inverted saucers on the base. Pour in boiling water to come a third of the way up the sides of the pudding bowls. Cover and steam as before.
Cool. Change the baking parchment and foil covers for fresh ones and tie up as before. Store in a cool cupboard until Christmas Day.
To serve, steam for 2 hours and serve with brandy butter, rum sauce, cream or homemade custard.