English Plum Pudding

This dessert is traditionally served at Christmastime.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup cut-up candied fruit peel
1/4 cup cut-up candied cherries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1 cup (4 ounces) ground kidney suet
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon brandy
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
Hard Sauce

Mix flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Stir in fruit, walnuts and bread crumbs. Mix suet, brown sugar, eggs and 1 tablespoon brandy; stir into flour mixture. Pour into well-greased 4-cup mold; cover with aluminum foil. Place mold on rack in Dutch oven; pour boiling water into Dutch oven to rack level. Cover and boil over low heat until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 3 hours, adding boiling water if necessary.

Remove mold from Dutch oven; unmold. Heat 1/4 cup brandy until warm; ignite and pour over pudding.

Serve with Hard Sauce.

Yields 8 servings.

Hard Sauce:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons brandy

Beat butter, confectioners' sugar and brandy until smooth.