100gbreadcrumbsbreadcrumbs of 2 thick slices of bread
120gself raising flour
120mlstoutof your choice, Guinness works well
25gbutterfor greasing the bowl
The day before making the pudding, place the sultanas, raisins, and currants in large mixing bowl and pour over the brandy. Stir through and cover. This will allow the fruit to become plump and soak up the brandy.
Making the pudding
Add all of the dry ingredients (suet, flour, spices, salt, mixed peel, breadcrumbs, almonds and sugar) to a large mixing bowl including the grated apple and lemon rind. Sprinkle over the fruit previously soaked in brandy and stir everything together well.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl (beaten egg, stout and juice of half a lemon) and mix to create the pudding batter.
Next prepare the pudding bowl by cutting a circle of baking parchment to fit the base of bowl. Then heavily grease the entire bowl with the butter and place the baking parchment in the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon the mixture into the bowl and smooth over the top. The mixture should come up to 1 cm beneath the lip of the bowl leaving room for the pudding to rise slightly.
Cover the bowl loosely with cling film ensuring there is an overlap over the outside edge of the bowl of 2-3 cm (enough to cover the lip of the bowl if using a traditional Mason Cash pudding bowl) .
Take a piece of kitchen string and tie this around the bowl to secure the cling film. The string should sit just underneath the lip of the bowl which will be around 3 cm from the top.
Place the bowl in the slow cooker and fill it with boiling water to reach approximately 4 cm from the top (around 2/3rds of the bowl should be sitting in the water). Set to low for 9 hours. Note: ceramic pot slow cookers may take longer.
The pudding will be cooked when it is slightly risen, and has a glazed dark brown top. Allow to cool for a short time then carefully remove from the cooker.
To remove the pudding from the bowl, run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn the bowl over onto a plate. It should come away cleanly and will be ready to serve.
If pre-making the pudding to serve at a later date it's best to store it in the pudding basin while it matures. So allow it to cool completely then remove the string and cling film used in cooking. Take a circle of baking parchment and place this neatly on the top of the pudding and cover in two layers of cling film. Store in a cool dry place.
Reheating the pudding
To reheat the pudding in the slow cooker. Remove the pudding from storage and tie string around the edge of the cling film to secure it (as per the cooking instructions) then place it in the slow cooker. Fill with boiling water up to 2/3rds of the way up the bowl and cook on low for 2-3 hours until heated through and soft.
To make the breadcrumbs (if not using pre-bought) Toast two thick slices of bread then grate or pulse in a food processor. I use this mini food processor to make breadcrumbs when required.
Slow Cooker Temperature
Different types of slow cookers output different levels of heat and it may be that a longer cooking time is required. For reference this pudding was cooked in a Crockpot CSC026 with a metal pot which tends to heat up and cook quickly. Ceramic pot slow cookers may take longer so it's worth checking the pudding after 9 hours.
During the cooking time some of the water may evaporate and it may be necessary to top this up with boiling water.