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
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.
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.