300 g mixed dried fruit , such as currants, golden sultanas, blueberries, cherries, sour cranberries
300 g self-raising flour
75 g unsalted butter , plus extra for greasing
75 g suet
75 g golden caster sugar
180 ml semi-skimmed milk
50 ml brandy
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Place a medium pan over a high heat and add the dried fruit and 150ml water. Cover and simmer for around 5 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed, then leave aside to cool.
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl, then rub in the butter and suet until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and the soaked dried fruit, then gradually add the milk, stirring continuously to combine.
Grease a 1.5 litre pudding bowl with butter. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper to roughly the diameter of the pudding bowl and grease lightly with butter. Scoop the dried fruit mixture into the pudding bowl, then cover with the greaseproof paper, butter-side down. Place a double layer of tin foil on top, scrunching it around the rim of the bowl (if it has a lid, then simply place that on top instead). Wrap about 2 metres of string twice around the rim, tie in a double knot, then attach the end to the opposite side with a double knot to make a loose handle – this will make pulling the bowl out at the end a lot easier.
Place a deep pan over a high heat and place a saucer upside-down on the bottom. Gently place the pudding bowl into the pan, topping up with boiling water so the bowl is half submerged. Pop the lid on and simmer gently for 1 hour 40 minutes, or until the sponge is firm, but still slightly sticky in the middle, checking the water levels from time to time to make sure it doesn't dry up.
Carefully remove the bowl from the pan, take off the tin foil and greaseproof paper, then leave it to cool in the bowl for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat the brandy in a pan over a low heat.
Place a large plate face-down on top of the pudding bowl and carefully turn out the spotted dick. Bring it to the table, pour over the brandy, then set it alight. Serve with a good helping of custard, and enjoy!