Maeve O’Meara’s Christmas Puds for Gifts
For Step One
• 3 cups of chopped raisins
• ½ cup of mixed peel
• 1 1/3 cups of sultanas
• 100g chopped glazed cherries
• 1 ½ cups currants
• Grated rind and juice of an orange
• ½ tsp almond essence
• ½ cup brandy
For the rest of the pud:
• 250g unsalted butter
• ½ cup brown sugar
• ½ cup regular sugar
• 2tbsp treacle
• 4 eggs, beaten
• Slivered almonds
• Grated nutmeg
• 1 tbsp mixed spice
• ½ cup sifted self-raising flour
• 2 cups sifted plain flour
• Apricot jam
To be completed the night before you construct the puddings so that the fruit absorbs all the flavours of the brandy and juice, becoming deliciously plump and supple.
1. Into one bowl place all the fruit ingredients for Step One. Mix well and allow to soak overnight.
1. Place 250g of unsalted butter at room temperature into a mixing bowl.
2. Cream it with ½ cup of brown sugar and ½ cup of regular sugar and mix on a low speed.
3. Add 2 tbsp of treacle, and slowly add 4 beaten eggs. Room temperature eggs are preferable, as they create a lighter mix.
4. Crank up the speed to ensure all ingredients are mixed thoroughly.
1. Lightly toast some slivered almonds for two minutes in a hot oven.
2. To the prepared fruit mix, add the almonds, some grated nutmeg and a tbsp of mixed spice.
3. Then add ½ cup of sifted self-raising flour and 2 cups of sifted plain flour.
4. Before you pour the mixture into four 10cm cake tins, grease them with some butter and line them with greaseproof paper. You can also wrap the outside of the tins with brown paper to insulate the puds, and guarantee that the outside of the cake does not burn before the inside is cooked.
5. Place the tins into a preheated oven of 150 degrees Celsius for approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours.
1. Once the cakes are cooked slide them back into the oven and let them cool for ½ hour while the oven is off.
2. Remove from the oven and cover them with a clean tea towel until they are completely cool.
3. You can leave the cakes for months for the flavours to intensify, or you can speed up the process by pricking the surface of each and spooning in a tbs or two of brandy every so often.
4. To finish off the cakes cover them in marzipan. Roll out the marzipan and stick it on with some apricot jam. Rub the marzipan until it moulds into the cake and then decorate it with some beautiful ribbon or festive holly.