The night before stirring up the pudding, combine the candied fruit, nuts, raisins, currants, dates, dates/dried fruits, lemon peel and orange peel.
Pour 1/2 cup rum over the top of the mixture. Cover and let it soak overnight.
Add apple, carrot, beef suet, flour, bread crumbs, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, mace, cardamom, and allspice.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Whisk together the eggs, fruit juice and 1/4 cup rum in a small bowl. Pour over the fruit/flour mixture, and mix lightly until all ingredients are moistened.
Spoon into two buttered pudding molds. Cover top of each pudding with buttered foil.
Cover top of each pudding mold with a cloth dish towel. Tie the cloth tightly to the top using a loop of kitchen twine.
Place puddings in steamers and steam for 6 hours.
Remove from steamers and store in a cool place until Christmas Day or New Years' Day.
Return the pudding to the steamer and steam for 2 hours more.
To make hard sauce, combined butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons rum to make a thick paste. Chill 1 hour.
Form the hard sauce into a two balls (one for each pudding) and wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator until ready to serve the pudding.
To serve the pudding, place the hard sauce ball on the pudding, and stick the holly sprig through it to anchor it to the top of the pudding.
Pour warm 2 tbsp rum over the pudding, and touch the surface with a lighted match to flame the pudding. Carry it flaming to the table while everyone cheers. ?