This nut-free Christmas pudding is light, fruity and golden, with no nuts making it ideal for allergy sufferers. It's easy to make ahead for Christmas day (ideally, anytime from Stir Up Sunday)
1. In a large bowl, add the mixed dried fruit, brandy, grated apple, orange zest, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well, cover and set to one side for at least an hour or overnight for best results.
2. Grease a one-litre pudding basin with a little butter and set to one side. If you are adding a silver coin or sixpence, boil the coin in a little water so that it is clean.
3. In another large bowl, mix the flour, spices, breadcrumbs, soft brown sugar, eggs and golden syrup together, along with all the soaked mixed fruits and give everything a very good stir. Add the silver coin if using.
4. Pour the mixture into the greased pudding basin. Cover the pudding basin with a square of greaseproof paper and make a pleat in the middle so that the pudding has a space to rise. Tie with kitchen string. Repeat with a square of tin foil.
5. Find a large lidded pan, big enough to fit the pudding basin in and half fill with water. Place an upturned saucer in the bottom of the pan for your pudding basin to sit on. Bring the water to a gentle boil. Carefully place the Christmas pudding onto the saucer in the pan and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the pudding very gently for 5-6 hours, making sure that there is enough water in the pan but that the water doesn't reach the lip of the basin.
6. Remove the pudding and leave to cool. The pudding can now be stored until Christmas day. To store, place a clean square of greaseproof paper over the top of the pudding and re-tie with kitchen string. You can also make a few holes in the base of the pudding and top it up with brandy every couple of weeks. Store in a cool, dark place.
8. To reheat the pudding on Christmas day, steam it again for 2 hours, then carefully turn the pudding out on a plate and serve.
Recipe by Ren Behan - Author Wild Honey and Rye at http://www.renbehan.com/2013/11/stir-up-sunday-nut-free-christmas-pudding.html