1 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup honey (recipe called for white sugar and molasses, but I didn't have molasses so I used brown sugar and honey as a sort of substitute
1 cup butter, at room temperature (butter, not margarine or shortening)
1 cup apple cider (recipe called for milk)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp salt (that's not very much, is it?)
1 tsp baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 additional tablespoons
1 1/2 cups raisins, finely chopped (I used more than that, and mixed dark and golden raisins since I had them, and I did not chop them)
1 1/2 cups candied fruit mix (that fruitcake mix with citron, orange and lemon peel, cherries, etc)
1 1/2 cups chopped apples (which I forgot to put in)
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I used more because I like cinnamon)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1. Grease 2 2-pound coffee cans, 2 2-quart pudding molds, or 3 2-quart oven-proof deep baking dishes. The recipe I used didn't say to flour the pans, but mine stuck a bit so next time I'll flour them well too, and hope that helps.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, cider or milk, eggs, and molasses.
3. Add salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour. When well mixed add fruit, nuts and spices and mix well.
4. MOST IMPORTANT PART: stir three times and make a wish. Invite anyone else in the house to do the same.
5. Fill each pan 1/2 full of batter. Cover the tops of your pans with their lids, or if you're using a coffee can or baking dish with 2 layers of aluminum foil and seal it well around the edges.
6. In a large pot with a rack or trivet in the bottom, place your pans and add enough boiling water to go 2/3 up the side of each pan. I used my pressure canner for one mold, and another tall pan with the rack from a small pressure cooker in the bottom. I put the pudding molds in, then added warm water to be sure of the right water level, then took my puddings out again and waited until the water boiled. Then I put them into the water, put the lids on the big pots, and reduced the heat to medium low so that the water was just boiling gently.
7. I cooked mine about 5 1/2 hours, until a fork came out clean when I stuck it in to test. There might be some sticky fruit that will cling to the fork a bit but you will be able to tell the difference between that an uncooked dough.
8. When they were done, I took them out of the boiling water, let them cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then turned them over on the cookie rack to remove them from the mold. They didn't come out right away but when I tapped on the pan they plopped out, leaving a good bit of their tops in the pans. I got those bits out and patted them back in place (and tasted a little bit too---MMMM!).
Now they are still cooling on the counter, but later this evening I will wrap them each in a big white hanky, put them in a plastic bag and soak them with brandy. Then I will put them in the fridge and leave them alone until Christmas.
To serve, I'll make a hard sauce, I think, or perhaps some other sauce (lots of recipes and ideas online ofr these). I'll decorate the top with a few cherries, maybe, then pour brandy over and light it (I hope) with a match. Think that will work? I'll let you know, so stay tuned. (Or if you know something about this part that I don't know, do tell!)
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.