Did you know that the Christmas Pudding originated as far back as the 14th Century when the ingredients were quite different from how they are today, and was more of a main course containing mutton.
Then as it evolved it became a Christmas dessert and a silver coin, usually an old fashioned six pence was hidden inside. The ideas was, whoever found it would get good fortune for the following year. There were no health and safety or allergy restrictions in those days.
So why not bring back some of those old traditions, I don’t mean mutton or a six pence, but perhaps put something unusual but edible inside as a surprise when serving your Christmas feast this year.
Put the currants, sultanas and prunes into a bowl with the sherry, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to soak overnight or for up to 1 week.
When the fruits have had their soaking time, put a large pan of water on to boil, or heat some water in a conventional steamer, and butter your heatproof plastic pudding basin, remember to grease the lid, too.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients (except the vodka/brandy),
Add the booze soaked fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly, then add the all important 'sixpence'.
Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and put on the lid. Then wrap with a layer of foil so that the basin is watertight, then either put the basin in the pan of boiling water (halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded steamer and steam for 5 hours, checking every now and again that the water hasn’t bubbled away.
When it’s had its 5 hours, remove carefully and, when cooled slightly, unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin out of the way in the kitche, until Christmas Day.
On the big day, rewrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours.
then transfer to a plate, add the booze and light it !