If you feel as if your holiday wouldn’t be right without a steamed pudding, try this easy version, which contains no suet. You can make it ahead of time and reheat it, well-wrapped, in a slow oven or at the back of the stove.
Combine the fruits, nuts, and molasses in a mixing bowl and stir together. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well to combine. Pour the batter into a buttered, 1-quart pudding mold and cover tightly. Steam the pudding for 2 hours on a rack in a covered kettle of boiling water that reaches halfway up the mold. Add more water as it boils away. To unmold, set the mold in cold water for a few seconds. Uncover and turn out onto a plate. Serve with Fluffy Hard Sauce or whipped cream.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly. Gently beat in the cream and vanilla.