Christmas pudding with dates and prunes

Serves 12 people

Now's the time to make your Christmas pudding! This is my favourite recipe, it has a big, sweet date flavour.

  • 150g pitted dates, chopped
  • 125g pitted prunes, chopped
  • 100g raisins, chopped
  • 75g glace cherries, chopped
  • 75g glace ginger, chopped
  • 100g mixed dried peel
  • 2 Tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1 cups muscat liqueur
  • 1 cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup treacle
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • 100ml milk
  • 4 eggs
  • rum, to brush

1 Combine the fruits, spice, vanilla, muscat, sugar and treacle in a bowl, mix well, the wrap and refrigerate for 1 week to plump.

2 Rub the butter, breadcrumbs and flour until crumbly, then stir in the fruit mixture, milk and eggs. Spoon into a well-buttered 2L pudding basin with a disc of non-stick paper in the base. Wrap the top with non-stick paper and two sheets of aluminium foil.

3 Place the pudding basin on a trivet in a large pot and add boiling water to 2cm from the lip. Set over a low heat and cook gently for 4 hours. Set aside to cool slowly, then remove from the basin. Wrap well and refrigerate for 3 weeks to mature, brushing with rum every second day.