Christmas pudding is an age-old dessert made from the dried fruit and nuts that were stored in autumn to see people through the dark, cold winter Christmas pudding It's all the traditional things that make Christmas special: the tree draped in tinsel, sprigs of mistletoe and holly, singing carols in the moonlight and, like with other holidays, festive food. Most Christmas food has symbolic significance, including Christmas pudding. Christmas (or plum) pudding is an age-old dessert made from the dried fruit and nuts that were stored in autumn to see people through the dark and cold winter months. Many traditions surround the making and serving of the Christmas pudding, one of them being that a few small silver coins were placed into the pudding before cooking. Whoever was lucky enough to find the coins in their serving could keep the coins and meet wealth that year. Although many no longer practise the traditions associated with the pudding, it's still a significant part of the Christmas meal. A plum pudding with its steaming warmth and exotic spices evokes the mystery and wonder of the story of Christmas and the three kings loaded with frankincense and myrrh journeying through night to meet the baby Jesus. Mark Bannon, executive chef at The Langham hotel, shares his deliciously moist and fragrant recipe with Christmas magazine readers. He got his recipe, he says, from his mother, who adapted hers from Mrs Beeton - the Victorian author of the famous Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, first published in 1861. Although the lengthy cooking time may be off-putting to some, the recipe is simple, Bannon says. 'It does take a while to cook, but you can leave it boiling away in the background while you watch a video at home. Making the pudding is very easy, though. The ingredients are readily available in Hong Kong, except for the suet [vegetable oil mixed with flour] but I know this is stocked in City'super close to Christmas time,' Bannon says. He uses more currants and sultanas than most recipes and replaces the candied peel with either glace cherries or tinned cherries. The pudding can be made up to a year before as the flavours improve over time. Keep it wrapped in the fridge, and steam for half an hour before serving. Avoid heating in the microwave as this may make the pudding go hard, but a quick blast of 10 seconds should be fine. A shot of brandy can be poured over the pudding, which is then lit before serving. The pudding can be served with brandy butter or vanilla custard, although ice cream is also becoming popular. Christmas Pudding 75 grams raisins 75g currants 75g sultanas 25g glace or fresh tinned cherries 25g chopped almonds 75g fresh breadcrumbs 10oz plain flour 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice zest of 1/2 a small lemon 75g shredded suet 75g soft light brown sugar 1 large egg or 2 small eggs 1 fl oz brandy 1 fl oz milk or more brandy, rum, or sherry Grease a half-litre pudding basin. Put fruit, breadcrumbs, flour, spice, suet and sugar into a dish and mix. Then whisk the eggs and brandy and add to fruit mix. Spoon into pudding basin and press well down. Cover the basin with greaseproof paper and then foil and secure under the rim with string. Put the basin in a pan containing about 1cm of water. Cover the pan and boil for about two hours, checking the water level every 30 minutes to making sure it doesn't boil dry. On day of serving, steam the pudding for about 30 minutes.