You will need 3 x 1.2 litres (two pints) plastic pudding basins and lids, buttered greaseproof paper, large enough to cover the top of each pudding, with a single pleat down the centre.
Soak the sultanas, raisins, currants, and cherries in the brandy and stout overnight; give them a good stir now and then. The next day or so, mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
Divide the mixture between the two bowls and pack it in. Cover with the greaseproof paper, folded, with a pleat in the centre as the puddings will expand slightly as they cook, then pop the lids on.
Christmas puddings are quite dense because of all the fruit and nuts they contain. Place the puddings in deep roasting tins. Pour boiling water into the tin – the water should come almost halfway up the pudding bowl – and cook for 3½ hours in the oven at 100ºC/Gas Mark ¼, or in a steamer on top of the cooker.
Top up with boiling water as required. When the cooking time is up, allow to cool and store in a cool dry place.
When you want to eat the puddings, steam them for a further one and a half to two hours. Turn them out and flame with brandy. Each pudding should serve at least six.