AT A GLANCE
You'll need to begin this recipe at least a day ahead.
|01||Stir dried fruit, dates, Pedro Ximénez, orange juice and citrus rind in a bowl, cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until flavours develop (overnight-1 week).|
|02||Beat sugar and butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then transfer to a large bowl and add apple, flour, breadcrumbs, hazelnut meal, milk, spices, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in fruit mixture and spoon into a well-buttered 2-litre pudding bowl. Cover closely with a round of buttered baking paper, cover with a pudding lid or 2 pieces of foil and secure with kitchen string. Place in a large saucepan, pour in enough hot water to reach just below the rim of the bowl, cover and simmer over low heat, adding more hot water as necessary, until cooked through (5 hours). Remove pudding bowl from saucepan and set aside to cool (20 minutes; see note).|
|03||For brown sugar and fig ice-cream, combine figs and caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until caramelised (8-10 minutes; add a little water if consistency is too thick). Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until slightly thickened (30 minutes). Combine cream, milk and mixed spice in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the simmer. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and brown sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add cream mixture while whisking continuously, then transfer to a clean saucepan and stir over medium heat until mixture thickly coats a spoon (6-8 minutes). Remove from heat, strain through a fine sieve into a bowl placed over ice and stir occasionally until cool. Add fig mixture and brandy and freeze in an ice-cream machine until firm. Freeze until required.|
|04||Warm rum in a small saucepan over medium heat until just hot, pour over pudding and light with a match (be careful of flame). Top pudding with figs and serve warm with brown sugar and fig ice-cream.|
Note After step 2 you can store the pudding in a cool, dark place for up to 4 weeks. Before serving, place pudding bowl in a large saucepan, pour in enough hot water to reach just below the rim, cover and simmer over medium heat, adding more hot water as necessary, until warmed through (1-1½ hours). Remove pudding bowl from saucepan and set aside to cool (20 minutes), then serve.
PEDRO XIMÉNEZ. , suggested by MAX ALLEN