You will need a 1.7 litre/3 pint/1½ quart heatproof plastic pudding basin with a lid, and also a sprig of holly to decorate.
- Although I stipulate a capacious 1.7 litre/3 pint/1½ quart basin, then share between smaller basins – a 2 pint/1 quart one for you, a 1 pint/½ quart one to give away. Three hours’ steaming, after it’s had its first steaming, and is cool, with the steaming instructions for Christmas Day.
- Put the currants, sultanas and scissored prunes into a bowl with the sherry, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for up to 1 week.
- When the fruits have had their steeping 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 (or basins), remembering to grease the lid, too.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining pudding ingredients (except the vodka. Add the steeped fruits, scraping in every last drop of liquor with a rubber spatula, and mix to combine thoroughly.
- 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 (to come halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded and steam for 5 hours, checking regularly that the water hasn’t bubbled away.
- When it’s had its 5 hours, remove gingerly and unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin somewhere out of the way in the kitchen until Christmas Day.
- On the big day, rewrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours. Eight hours combined cooking time might seem a faff, but you don’t need to do anything to it in that time.
- To serve, remove from the pan or steamer, take off the lid, put a plate on top, turn it upside down and give the plastic basin a little squeeze to help unmould the pudding. Then remove the basin, and behold the pudding.
- Put the sprig of holly on top of the pudding, then heat the vodka in a small pan and the minute it’s hot, but before it boils – you don’t want the alcohol to burn off before you attempt to flambé it – turn off the heat, pour the hot vodka over the pudding and then light the pudding.