100g pitted dates, coarsely chopped
80g dried apricots, coarsely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) brandy
100g butter, cubed, at room temperature
100g (1/2 cup) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon parisienne essence
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons plain flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
105g (1+1/2 cup) soft breadcrumbs (made from day old bread with crusts removed)
105g (3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped warm vanilla custard, to serve.
Place the sultanas, raisins, dates and apricots into a medium heatproof bowl.
Cover and set aside to macerate overnight.
Use electric beaters to beat the butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until just combined.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the ramekins so they are almost full.
Place 3 onto a microwave-safe rack evenly spaced around the outer edge and cook, on medium-low, defrost/350watts/30% for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of each pudding comes out clean.
Stand for 10 minutes before turning onto serving plates.
Spoon the mixture into a 1.25litre (5-cup) heatproof, microwave-safe pudding basin.
Cover with 2 sheets of baking paper and secure with unwaxed string.
Place onto a microwave-safe rack and cook, on medium-low, defrost/350watts/30% 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
If you have no time to macerate the fruit overnight, pour the cold brandy over the fruit. Cover with a lid or double layer of plastic wrap. Cook on low/90watts/10% for 20-30 minutes or until almost all the brandy had been absorbed by the fruit. Stand, covered 30 minutes to cool.
To reheat 1.25 litre pudding: