Boiled Christmas pudding

Tags: Christmas, cake, dessert
. 11 steps
cloth   Dip cloth in boiling water; wring dry. Spread on bench and quickly rub with flour to cover a disk 38cm in diameter, leaving the flour thicker in the center. Lift pudding out, e.g. with the handle of a wooden spoon looped through the string. Suspend, and leave to dry overnight. The pudding must hang freely; it is too soft to touch anything. Twist the ends of the cloth around the supporting string to keep wet ends away from the pudding. If the pudding has cooked correctly, the cloth will begin to dry out in patches within a few minutes.

Cut string, loosen cloth from top of pudding, scrape away any excess flour. Leave at room temperature for a day or so or until the cloth is completely dry around the top of the pudding. Tie pudding cloth again with string. Place in airtight plastic bag; refrigerate until required.

2 pieces calico, 50cm×50cm
1/3 cup flour
string   Place mix in centre of cloth. Gather ends together, hold pudding up, pat into ball-shape. Tie securely with string as close as possible to the pudding mixture; tie a loop in the string to make it easier to lift out.

Gently and quickly lower into a large pot of rapidly boiling water; quickly replace lid. Boil for 6 hours in rapidly boiling water, replenishing the water as necessary. (Use a tight-fitting lid weighted down, to minimize evaporation.) There must at all times be enough water for the pudding to float and move freely.

250g butter   Beat until just combined
500g brown sugar
5 eggs   Beat in one at a time, each time beating until just combined
250g raisins chopped Mix well. Cover; stand 1–7 days.   Mix well
250g sultanas
185g currants
185g mixed peel
1 teaspoon lemon rind grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy
1 1/4 cups flour sift
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
250g stale breadcrumbs
To serve hot: Remove pudding from refrigerator 12 hours before it is to be reheated. Gently lower pudding into a large pot of boiling water, boil for 1–2 hours. Suspend hot pudding for 10 minutes, tucking the ends of the cloth into the string away from the pudding. ¶ Place pudding on bench near a serving plate. Cut the string and ease cloth away until the pudding is 1/4 uncovered. Gently invert pudding onto serving plate; slowly and gently pull cloth away. ¶ Leave pudding for 20 minutes before cutting. The longer the pudding is left standing, the darker the skin will become.
To serve cold: Reheat the day before it is to be served, as described above, and remove the cloth. Leave the pudding for 12 hours or until it is completely cold. Then, either cover with plastic food wrap, or wrap in a clean dry unfloured cloth. Keep refrigerated.