You can vary this traditional Christmas pud to suit everyone's tastes. Try using dried prunes, apricots or dates instead of raisins, nuts and cherries
- 200ml (7fl oz) dark rum75g (3oz) dried figs, roughly chopped, plus 3 whole figs
- 75g (3oz) raisins
- 50g (2oz) glacé cherries, roughly chopped
- 100g (4oz) soft brown sugar
- 100g (4oz) butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
- 50g (2oz) pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp allspice
For the topping:
- 50g (2oz) dried figs, roughly chopped
- 50g (2oz) pistachio nuts, chopped
- 6tbsp runny honey
Cook the pudding a day in advance and store in a cool place (not the fridge). Steam for 20 mins to heat through before serving.
- Gently warm the rum in a pan, taking care not to boil. Remove from the heat and add the chopped figs, raisins and cherries. Soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you can.
- Beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, whisking continuously. Once all the egg is added, fold in the flour until well combined.
- Strain the soaked fruit and add to the mixture along with the pistachios, nutmeg and allspice. Combine well.
- Slice the three whole figs horizontally and arrange on the bottom of a greased 1.2 litre (2 pint) basin, seed-side down. Pour the mixture on top, being careful to keep the figs in position.
- Take a piece of greaseproof paper and make a pleat down the centre to allow for expansion. Place over the basin and secure with string. Cover with foil and tie again, making a handle with the extra string.
- Place the basin in a deep pan and fill with boiling water so it comes three-quarters of the way up the bowl. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Don't be tempted to lift the lid during the first 30 mins of cooking – any drop in temperature will make the pudding sink.
- To make the topping, warm the figs, pistachios and honey in a small pan with 1tbsp water.
- Turn the pudding on to a plate, drizzle with sauce and serve hot with rum butter.