Martha Collison's Christmas cheeseboard pudding

Dried fruit and cheese go hand in hand and adding a splash of brandy makes it even better 

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes + at least three days drying time

Serves: 6 - 8

Ingredients

150g raisins
150g sultanas
100g currants
150g dried figs
150g dates
1 heaped tsp mixed spice
3 tbsp brandy
Zest of 1 orange
100g blanched whole almonds
Bay leaves and redcurrant sprigs, to decorate (optional) 

Method

1. Line a 1 litre pudding basin with clingfilm. Add the dried fruits, spice, brandy and orange zest to a food processor and blitz until a sticky purée forms. Stir in the almonds and spoon the mixture into the basin.

2. Press the mixture firmly into the basin, making it as compact as you can. Any air pockets trapped can cause the pudding to crumble and not slice neatly. Smooth over the top with a spatula, then loosely cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to dry out and set for at least 3 days in a cool, dark place.

3. When ready to serve, turn the pudding out onto a cheeseboard and remove the clingfilm. Decorate with bay leaves and redcurrant sprigs. Serve in thin slices with cheese and crackers. This pudding can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 month.