In a large bowl, combine flour, bread crumbs, suet, eggs, carrot, apple, brown sugar, chopped blanched almonds, stem ginger, ground almonds, cherries, raisins, currants, golden raisins, mixed peel, plums, lemon juice and zest, mixed spice, baking powder and ale. Let each family member take a turn stirring and make a wish. If you have used more dry fruit than fresh, add a little extra ale to make the mixture less stiff.
Grease 2 large or 4 small pudding basins. Fill with pudding mixture about 7/8 full. Cover tightly with greased waxed paper, then foil; secure with string. Stand pudding on a trivet in a large pot of boiling water that reaches halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. Steam puddings over medium-low heat in boiling water 10 hours for large puddings, 5 hours for small puddings, topping off water regularly until quite firm and set.
If not serving immediately, let cool completely, then replace covers with fresh waxed paper and foil and store in a cool, dry place, basting from time to time with rum or brandy, for up to 3 months. To serve, reheat by steaming 2 to 3 hours.