Also suitable for those who need to limit their fat intake. The original of this recipe (from an Aunt Daisy cookbook, in which it was called Nothing Pudding) had no raising agent added with the flour, no egg, no prunes and used only one cup of fruit and 1 tsp of spice. Instead of the brandy, an extra ¼ cup of boiling water was used. It’s also worth trying.
2 cups mixed dried fruit
8-9 prunes, chopped (use kitchen scissors) ¼ cup sugar 2 tsp mixed spice and 1 tsp cinnamon (or spices to taste) 1 egg ¼ cup brandy
1 cup plain flour ¼ tsp (rounded) baking soda and ½ tsp (rounded) cream of tartar (or 1 tsp baking powder)
¾ cup boiling water 1 dessertspoon (2 tsp) butter or margarine 1 tsp baking soda
Mix the first lot of ingredients thoroughly together then sift in the flour and raising agent. Melt the butter or margarine in the boiling water, add the baking soda, pour into fruit and flour mixture and mix well. Place in greased pudding basin and steam as long as possible, 5 to 8 hours minum. Even 12 hours isn't too much. The longer the pudding is steamed the darker it will look and the richer it will seem.
Note: You cant pour brandy over this and set it alight. Because of the puddings low fat content, the flames instantly die.
21 December 2009: This year I made further changes to the pudding. We keep our own free-range hens so I put in an extra egg. I also used wholemeal flour, which I had bought to make some wholemeal bread. Then, because I had no brandy but did have a bottle of White Goose plum wine bought in less hard times (and had forgotten to buy prunes) I used half a cup of this instead of quarter of a cup of brandy. I saw I had some dark brown sugar in the pantry so used this instead of white. Since my husband had a jar of black strap molasses, I decided to make my brown sugar even darker by snaffling a spoonful of this. My sister-in-law had given me a small jar of glacé cherries that she'd steeped in alcohol some years ago,
so I added these (drained) in place of the chopped prunes. I didn't see any point using the syruppy liquid; the alcohol had long evaporated. There was a lump of dried sugar on the bottom and I discarded this too. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating so I won’t know if my changes constitute an improvement until Christmas Day. I will post the reactions of the diners here in the New Year.
29 December 2009: The pudding was very successful, but the absence of the prunes was noticed and I have to admit I prefer brandy. Here is a portion of the pudding to show you what it looks like: