The day before you make the pudding put the sultanas, raisins, currants, cherries and mixed peel in a large mixing bowl. Add the brandy and mix well.
Leave to soak overnight.
Next day, add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix. Then add the lemon zest, juice, melted butter and eggs and mix well.
Place the mixture in a well-greased 2lb pudding bowl. Cover with two well greased pieces of greaseproof paper making sure there is a fold across the middle. Place a double layer of tin foil, secured with string, or alternatively the lid of a pudding bowl on top.
Place the pudding bowl into a large saucepan half filled with water. Bring the water to the boil, and then reduce to a very gentle simmer for 6 hours. Check regularly to ensure the water doesn’t boil off, top up with water if required.
After the cooking time has elapsed remove the bowl from the water. Remove the lid and greaseproof paper and allow the pudding to cool down completely.
When cold, re-cover as before with fresh paper and store until required.
On Christmas morning you can reheat the pudding by steaming in a large saucepan of water (as per the cooking method) until thoroughly heated through.