75g/2¾oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
2 large free-range eggs
100g/3½oz self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
100g/3½oz fresh breadcrumbs
50g/1¾oz ground almonds
For the rum cream
500ml/18fl oz double cream
50ml/2fl oz dark rum
50g/1¾oz light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
Mix together all of the dried fruit, mixed peel, rum, orange juice and zest in a large bowl. Ideally, do this the day before you want to steam the pudding – just cover the bowl and leave the fruit to absorb the liquid. On the day that you want to steam the pudding, add the apple, sugar, butter, eggs, flour, spices, breadcrumbs and almonds and mix together until a batter-like consistency is formed.
Lightly grease a 1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basin and line the base with a round of baking paper. Scrape in the pudding mixture and level the surface. Place a layer of baking paper and a layer of kitchen foil on top of the pudding, both pleated to allow for expansion, and tie string around the basin to secure the layers in place.
To steam, place a small plate upside down in a large saucepan. Place the pudding on top of the plate and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover with a lid and simmer for 4 hours, topping up the water as needed using boiling water. Carefully remove the pudding from the pan and leave to cool completely before replacing the foil and baking paper with fresh layers. Store in a dark cool place until Christmas, steaming as before for about 2 hours until piping hot.
To make the rum cream, mix together the cream, rum, sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt in a bowl and whisk until the cream holds soft peaks. Serve with the pudding.
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