In a large bowl mix the dried fruit and apple, then add the stout, brandy, orange and lemon zests and stir. Cover and leave overnight to soak.
Butter two small pudding basins, place a circle of greaseproof paper into the bottom so it's a bit easier to get the pudding out later. Sprinkle the buttered bowl with a light covering of muscovado sugar.
Mix the remaining dry ingredients in the large bowl. Grate the butter and add to the bowl along with the eggs and stir well.
Spoon into the basins and level the mix.
Take a large sheet of foil and greaseproof paper and butter the greaseproof paper. Make a pleat in the two together and wrap over the bowl securing with string.
Put the pudding on a heatproof saucer in a saucepan and pour in just-boiled water to come halfway up basin. Cover and steam for 6 hrs, topping up water occasionally so it doesn't boil dry. I set the timer for 45 minutes so I could check the water level regularly.
When it's cold re-cover with fresh greaseproof paper and foil and store in a cool place ready to reheat on Christmas day.
If you want to feed it each week before Christmas add a tablespoon of brandy, sherry or whiskey. I used a skewer to make a few holes to help the brandy soak into the middle.
To reheat, steam for 1 hr like before or microwave, without the foil but with the greaseproof paper, for 10 minutes. 2 minutes on and rest for a minute repeat.
You can feed your pudding with a tablespoon or two of extra brandy each week to boost the flavour.