Place the breadcrumbs, flour, suet and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir until well blended.
Stir in the sultanas, raisins, currants, figs, dates, mixed peel, cherries and almonds and mix well.
Add all the remaining ingredients and stir again. Cover the bowl and leave overnight to allow the flavours time to blend.
Spoon into one 1.2litre (2½pt) and one 600ml (1¼pt) well greased basins and press down well. Cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Then cover with foil and tie securely with string. Steam the pudding for 6 – 8 hours, topping up the water as required.
Once cooked remove from the steamer or pan and remove the covers. Allow to cool completely then cover again with fresh parchment and foil. Store in a cool dry place until Christmas.
To serve. Steam the puddings for another 2–3 hours. Turn out onto a warm plate. Heat a little brandy or rum in a ladle or small saucepan. ignite and pour over the pudding. Allow the flames to subside before serving.
Cooking Times Use the longer cooking times for the larger pudding and the shorter cooking times for the smaller pudding.Remember to keep an eye on the water level in the pan and top up as required to ensure the pan does not boil dry.Cooking MethodFor more details on how to steam the puddings plus information on how to cook in a pressure cooker or reheat in the microwave see the body of the post.Variation: If you prefer not to add alcohol to your pudding add orange juice apple juice or cold tea.