My Mum's Christmas Pudding recipe is as good as it gets, and is one holiday dessert that I look forward to each and every year.
In a large bowl, soak all the dried fruit overnight with the lemon rind and juice, cider and rum. Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 12 hours. The cider here is the European style alcoholic style cider, though the American style cider could also be used.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
In a seperate bowl, add the flour, spices, baking soda and salt and whisk together to combine.
Add dry ingredients into the butter mixture and fold together.
Add the eggs, beating in one at a time.
Next, stir in the breadcrumbs, ground almonds, grated chocolate and coffee essence (if using).
Lastly stir in the grated apple and the soaked fruit mixture. Now cover and set aside to stand for 2 hours on the counter top, stirring occasionally.
Pour pudding mix into a 1.5 litre/3 pint pudding bowl, cover well and gently steam for roughly 2 ½ hours. (See How to steam a Christmas Pudding for more details).
Once the pudding is firm to the touch on top it is done. Remove from the pot and allow to cool down completely in the basin.
Replace the parchment and foil with new pieces before storing the pudding away in a cupboard for as long as 2 months or until Christmas time. It can also be frozen.
To serve the pudding on Christmas day, steam again for 1 hour and serve hot. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days.