- Get everything prepared. Chop the almonds coarsely. Peel, core and chop the apples. Sharpen your knife and chop the candied peel. (You can chop the almonds and apples in a food processor, but the peel must be done by hand.) Grate three quarters of the nutmeg. Mix all the ingredients for the pudding, except the butter, in a large bowl.
- Holding the butter in its wrapper, grate a quarter of it into the bowl, then stir everything together.Repeat until all the butter is grated, then stir for 3-4 minutes - the mixture is ready when it subsides slightly after each stir. Ask the family to stir too, and get everyone to make a wish.
- Generously butter two 1.2 litre/ 2 pint bowls and put a disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each. Pack in the pudding mixture. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper or baking parchment, pleating it to allow for expansion, then tie with string (keep the paper in place with a rubber band while tying). Trim off any excess paper.
- Now stand each bowl on a large sheet of foil and bring the edges up over the top, then put another sheet of foil over the top and bring it down underneath to make a double package (this makes the puddings watertight). Tie with more string, and make a handle for easy lifting in and out of the pan.
- Boil or oven steam the puddings for 8 hours, topping up with water as necessary. Remove from the pans and leave to cool overnight. When cold, discard the messy wrappings and re-wrap in new grease proof or baking parchment, foil and string. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.
- To make the brandy butter, cream the butter with the orange zest and sugar. Gradually beat in the brandy or cognac and chopped ginger. Put in a small bowl, fork the top attractively and put in the fridge to set. The butter will keep for a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks.
- On Christmas Day, boil or oven steam for 1 hour. Unwrap and turn out. To flame, warm 3-4 tablespoons of brandy in a small pan, pour it over the pudding and set light to it.