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1. Soak prunes in brandy or orange juice, covered, in a cool place for 2 hours or overnight or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Do not drain. Stir shredded apple, walnuts, candied fruits and peels, and orange peel into prune mixture; set aside.
2. Grease and flour a 12-cup fluted tube mold or pan; set aside. Stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed just until combined (do not overbeat). Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in prune mixture.
4. Spread butter into prepared mold. Lightly grease a square of foil; cover mold with foil, greased side down. Press foil slightly against the rim of mold. Place mold on a rack in a deep kettle containing 1 inch of simmering water. Cover kettle; steam pudding over low heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, adding additional boiling water to kettle if necessary. Remove from kettle. Remove foil. Cool 15 minutes. Carefully invert; remove pudding from mold. Cool slightly on wire rack. If desired, serve warm with Hard Sauce. Makes 18 servings.
1. Beat together butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Beat in brandy, rum, or orange juice and vanilla. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Makes 1-1/4 cups.