FESTIVE BAKING HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER
T ake the guesswork out of this time-honoured tradition by following these simple steps. ¼ cup (40g) sultanas ½ cup (80g) currants ½ cup (70g) slivered almonds ½ teaspoon mixed spice ¼ cup (45g) brown sugar ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar 2 eggs
STEP 1 Place the sultanas, currants, date, almond, spice, brandy and sherry in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and soak in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 8–10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add the fruit mixture, ³ cup flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. STEP 2 Place a 60cm square piece of calico cloth in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove, allow to cool and squeeze to remove excess water. Open the cloth out, sprinkle with the remaining flour and rub over the calico. Place the mixture in the centre. STEP 3 Gather the ends of the cloth together firmly and tie using string. Cook, covered, in a saucepan of boiling water over medium heat for 4 hours, adding more water if needed. STEP 4 Remove from the pan, place in a colander over a bowl and refrigerate until cold. To reheat, boil for 45 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 minutes and unwrap. Serve with brandy. Serves 12.