175g amaretti biscuits
250g stoned soft dates, chopped
250g dried soft figs, chopped
750g mixed dried fruit
75g dark brown muscovado sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g firm slightly salted butter
200ml strong ale
Caster sugar, to sprinkle
1. Grease a 1.7-litre pudding basin (see Cook’s tip) and line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper. Put the amaretti biscuits in a polythene bag and crush with a rolling pin until fairly finely ground. Tip into a large bowl. Add the dates, figs, mixed dried fruit, sugar, breadcrumbs and beaten egg and mix well.
2. Grate the butter into the bowl, mixing it in frequently as you grate, so the butter doesn’t lump together. Add the ale. Give the ingredients a good stir, then cover and leave to stand in the fridge for a couple of hours.
3. Pack the mixture into the basin. Cover with a large circle of greaseproof paper, securing it under the rim with string. Cover the greaseproof with foil, tucking it firmly over the paper to create a moisture-proof lid.
4. Place an upturned saucer or piece of crumpled foil in the base of a large saucepan and rest the basin on top. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the basin. Cover with a lid and steam gently.
Instead of using one large pudding basin, divide the mixture between two smaller basins totalling about 1.7litres in capacity and keep one pudding for another time. Reduce the initial steaming time to 3 hours.
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