Generously grease a 2-quart ceramic or metal pudding mold with lid.
Grease lid also.
If using a ceramic pudding mold, make a lid with a piece of aluminum foil, 2 inches larger then top of mold.
Lid will stay in place over top of mold by tying with kitchen twine or string.
In a large bowl, place all the fruit and pour the brandy over it.
Stir well to disperse the brandy.
Cover with a towel and set aside to macerate 12 to 24
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat the butter and sugar until thick and creamy. Beat in the zests and eggs. Fold in the fruit and almonds. Add the flour and spices, combining well, then fold in the bread crumbs.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared mold, press down well, and level the surface.
Place the well greased lid on top, securing the lid with the clasp (or if using a ceramic pudding mold, place heavy duty aluminum foil over top of mold and secure by tying with kitchen twine or heavy string).
Place the mold on a rack in a Dutch oven or other large covered pot. Pour boiling water into the Dutch oven until it is halfway up the side of the mold.
Keep water at a gentle boil.
Steam for 4 hours, topping the boiling water to the same level when necessary.
Remove the mold from the Dutch oven and set on a rack to cool. Remove lid (or foil, if using).
When thoroughly cooled, rewrap pudding with freezer wax paper and foil, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
To reheat, steam for 1 to 2 hours or microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes or until piping hot.
For true Christmas indulgence pour over brandy and flame. Or use this recipe for traditional hard sauce:
Refers to a mixture of butter and sugar that are beaten together until smooth and then flavored with extracts such as vanilla or alcoholic beverages such as brandy or rum. The mixture is then refrigerated until it hardens. Serve with plum pudding or similar desserts.