In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dried fruit, ginger, zest and juice, stout and brandy. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
Grease 2 x 1.2 litre pudding basins with butter. Place a side plate upside down into the base of two deep pots large enough to hold the pudding basins. For each pudding, cut a piece of foil and baking paper to the same size, large enough to generously cover the pudding basin. Place foil down on a clean work surface and cover with sheet of baking paper. Create a pleat in the cente widthways, allowing the pudding to rise during cooking.
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture, stirring until well combined. Evenly divide between the prepared pudding basins and place prepared foil covers on top, baking paper side down, with the pleat running across the middle. Using a rubber band or string securely tie the foil top around the bowl, just below the lip.
Place pudding into prepared pot on the upside down plate. Pour enough boiling water around the pudding to come halfway up. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer over a low heat for 6 hours. Check the water level regularly and refill if required. Remove from pot and allow to cool.
Store pudding in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.
To serve, simply repeat the steaming process until pudding is heated through. Turn out onto a serving platter, garnish with summer berries or cherries and serve with brandy sauce.