Photo: Lauren McLean
Chop the apricots into small pieces about the size of a raisin. Grate the apple into a large mixing bowl. Add the apricots and mixed dried fruit, pour in the brandy and the orange juice, cover and leave to steep for 1 hour.
Grease a 1.5-litre pudding basin with extra dairy-free spread and set aside.
Cream together the orange zest, dairy-free spread and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the beaten eggs and sift in the flour, xanthan gum and mixed spice. Fold together until smooth and combined and then fold in the ground almonds. Add the soaked fruit to the mixture and stir together until combined.
Spoon the pudding mixture into the greased pudding basin, pressing the mixture down and smoothing with the back of a spoon.
To steam: cover the bowl with a layer of baking paper and foil, making a pleat across the centre so the pudding can expand. Tie the bowl securely with string and trim off any excess foil and paper. Place the pudding in the top of a steamer filled with simmering water, cover and steam for about 8 hours; top up the water if you need to. Once cooked, leave to cool for a few minutes, then turn out of the bowl and leave to cool completely.
To microwave: cover the bowl with clingfilm (instead of paper and foil) and microwave on full power; 5 minutes for 1000W, 7 minutes for 800W. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and then microwave again on full power for a further 5 minutes for 1000W, 6 minutes for 800W. Leave to rest for a few minutes and then turn out of the bowl; cool completely.
Once the pudding has cooled, make holes in it with a fine skewer or toothpick and pour in a little more brandy to feed. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
On Christmas Day, put the pudding back in its basin and re-cover, then either steam the pudding for 1 hour to reheat or microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes.
To make the brandy cream, gently whisk together the soya cream, brandy and icing sugar until smooth and combined. Chill until ready to pour over the pudding. For flaming, warm 3-4 tablespoons of brandy in a small pan, pour over the pudding and set alight.
GET AHEAD: The pudding can be made up to 1 month in advance. Store in an airtight container.