This recipe is an old one of my families, which my mother still makes to this day, its best made around July or August or can even be prepared earlier, you will need a big stainless steel bowl for preparation and a large china pudding bowl.
Chop the nuts, then place all the dried fruits, nuts and spices into a large bowl, pour over the rum and brandy and let macerate for a few days at least.
Then when ready to make, simply melt butter over a double boiler till melted but not hot.
Sift the flour over the macerated fruits, add the ground almonds, breadcrumbs, Guinness, Brown Sugar and eggs, then add the melted butter and mix well with wooden spoon until well incorporated (you will need strong arms as its quite thick and stodgy)
Grease a large pudding bowl with melted butter, then dust with some castor sugar mixed with some breadcrumbs, getting rid of any excess sugar mix.
Fill a greased pudding basin with mixture and press well into the bowl, smoothing over the top, and cover with buttered grease proof paper covering well and even doubling over so it completely covers the pudding and down the outside of the bowl. Cover again with aluminum foil, again, doubling up and well down over the sides. Tie this foil and paper securely with Butchers twine, to ensure it’s a tight fit and the foil and paper will not come loose.
You can cook immediately or cook a day or so later to allow all the flavors to macerate.
Once ready to cook place the bowl into a large stock pot which has boiling water which goes no more than ¾ up the side of the pudding bowl.
Simmer for at least 6½ hours (check every 30-45 mins to ensure there is enough water in and has not evaporated)
Remove the pudding from stock pot and take off the foil and paper and allow the top of the pudding to dry over night, this will help prevent any mould forming especially if you keep the pudding for several months which is recommended. In morning re cover the pudding again with paper and foil again and keep in cool dry area for at least 1 month or longer.
On Christmas eve or day when ever you wish to eat your pudding, just place the bowl which is securely covered with foil and paper into the stock pot again and simmer gently for 2½ - 3 hours to heat through. Remove foil and paper and loosed edges carefully with a knife, then tip out onto a nice silver or heavy china platter. Pour over some brandy at the table and very carefully flambé the pudding
Serve with brandy sauce, ice cream and enjoy, after which you should go on a diet for the following year!
Place milk and cream with slit vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to boil.
While heating the milk, whisk the yolks with the sugar till creamy, then add the corn starch and whisk for a few minutes till very smooth. Carefully pour over the boiling milk/cream mix and whisk continually till full mixed, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over heat, stirring constantly until thick, remove from heat and add the brandy, strain into a sauce boat and serve.