PREHEAT oven to 250F. Lightly grease a 1.5-L oven-safe stainless steel or glass bowl with shortening. (The bowl should be able to hold 6 1/3 cups water.) Completely coat with 4 tsp sugar. Discard any excess.
BEAT eggs with milk and brandy in a large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, suet, currants, raisins, flour, 1/2 cup sugar and mixed peel until combined. Scrape into prepared bowl and smooth top. Cover with a piece of parchment, then a piece of foil. Fasten tightly with twine around top lip of bowl. Trim overhanging edges to 1 in., then fold upwards.
PLACE bowl in a large oven-safe pot. Carefully pour in boiling water so it reaches three-quarters of the way up sides of bowl, making sure it does not touch the parchment or foil. Bake in centre of oven until set, 4 hours.
REMOVE bowl carefully from pot, using 2 oven mitts. It will be very hot. Discard parchment and foil. Let cool 15 min before unmoulding.
MELT butter in a small saucepan over medium. Whisk in flour until combined. Add sugar, brandy and water. Boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 3 to 4 min.
FLIP warm pudding onto a platter. Serve warm with brandy-butter sauce.
Using shortening (instead of butter or oil) to grease the bowl makes the pudding easier to remove. Also, we found it easier to unmould the pudding while it was still warm.
If you’re not a fan of raisins or currants, simply substitute an equal amount of your favourite dried fruit such as dried cranberries, apricots or figs.
Suet is similar to lard. It’s the fat of choice in most traditional steamed puddings because it has a richer flavour than other fats and gives the pudding a luxurious texture. We also tested this recipe with shortening and found it wasn’t as good.