Last Updated on January 12, 2022 by Chef Mireille
Traditional Spotted Dick is a steamed currant pudding popular in the UK and the British Isles. Traditionally served with Devon Custard, this is a luscious dessert you won’t want to miss.
It’s especially popular during the holiday season and to celebrate Burns Night, the night to celebrate Scotland’s most beloved poet, Robert Burns. On Burns Nigh, January 25 – people traditionally wear Scottish tartan’s while reciting the poems and songs of Burns.
I guarantee that once you taste Traditional Spotted Dick you’ll never forget about this classic British dish again.
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Do you love puddings?
Then you’ll love Traditional Spotted Dick! It’s a delicious British Steamed Pudding with Currants served with luscious Devon custard. Try out this traditional recipe to celebrate Christmas or Burns Night.
You can serve it hot, warm, or cold. This is the perfect pudding to enjoy after your family dinner at home during the holidays. Or if you want something different than your usual Christmas dessert, then try this one out instead!
You will be amazed how easy it is to make and that this delicious pudding came from your kitchen! But don’t take my word for it – give it a go yourself today!
I made Spotted Dick several years ago for an Irish themed party. After everyone finished laughing at the name of the dessert, it was enjoyed by everyone to the core.
The name does cause Americans to snicker, although people from the UK really don’t see a reason for all the giggling – it’s just pudding!
Much of Irish cuisine is synonymous with Brit food. Spotted Dick is one of those desserts that are popular in both Ireland and England. However, like all cuisines, there are regional differences, but for some in England and Ireland, Christmas really isn’t Christmas there until you’ve had your slice of Spotted Dick.
If you have ever watched any Brit TV, you will often see references to the Christmas Pudding.
Figgy Puddings are usually what they are referring to, but this Spotted Dick is so much better (in my humble opinion)
If you are going to try a traditional British Pudding, I say skip the figgy pudding and instead go for this delicious Spotted Dick..
What is a British Pudding?
What is termed as a pudding in the UK is basically a steamed cake. Many Brit colonized countries make these puddings like Samoan Puligi. In many of these countries, an oven is not a basic kitchen appliance as it is here in the US.
Not having an oven here for most is akin to not having a refrigerator. They had to come up with another way to make delicious cakes. Hence the steamed cake, known as a pudding is a delicious way of making a stove top cake.
I am lucky to have a British market here in NYC – Myers of Keswick where I can get any variety of Brit foods – from barley water to brown sauce to freshly made pasties, bangers and Irish bacon. Although you can use substitutes which I will detail for you, since I have it available, I made it just like they would in the British countryside!
Specialty Ingredients & Supplies
Suet is the hard fat of beef or mutton found around the kidneys or loins. This is often used in place of butter to create delicious flaky and tender crusts in British pasties and other pastries. Although the shop did have beef suet, I opted for the vegetarian suet which is made from oil and flour.
If you can get your hands on it and choose to utilize beef suet, reduce to quantity of milk in the recipe by 1/4 cup as this has more moisture in it.
- Devon Custard
I used store bought Devon Custard which is a light, barely sweetened custard. However, you can substitute any vanilla custard.
- Pudding Mold
Since this is standard Christmas fare, most people in the UK will have a pudding mold with a cover. However, use what you have. I have a kugelhopf pan which is similar in size and shape to their pudding molds. In the past, I just used a regular bundt pan. The height may not be the same, but it will taste just as delicious.
You can use any of these options to make your Traditional Spotted Dick – British Steamed Pudding.
Tools for making Spotted Dick
Ingredients for Spotted Dick
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- shredded suet or butter
- vanilla extract
- Devon custard
HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL SPOTTED DICK
- Prepare the pudding mold by greasing it and placing it on a rack in a pot and bring some water to a boil.
- Combine flour, sugar baking powder, and salt.
- Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Then we fold in the rest of the ingredients (except the custard).
- The batter will be the consistency of biscuit or cookie dough!
- Place a standard steamer rack used with bamboo steamers for cooking Asian food, inside a large pot. Then add the kugelhopf pan on top.
- Add enough water to come almost to the rim of the pot, but leave some room for when the water starts to boil it does not overflow. Cover the whole thing first with aluminum foil as the pot cover would not fit securely with the kugelhopf pan. Cover it.
This contraption worked perfectly. (however, you can easier make it using the pudding mold referenced above).
- Cook until it is firm and a tester inserted comes out clean.
- Unmold it.
- And then smother in the delicious custard! Who can resist that delicious pudding oozing with all that custard over it!!!
Who can resist this delicious Traditional Spotted Dick – British Steamed Pudding oozing with all that custard!!!
Other Holiday Recipes
Traditional Spotted Dick – UK Christmas Pudding
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 oz shredded suet or butter
- 1 cup milk
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup currants
- Custard for serving
- Grease a pudding mold.
- Place a steamer rack inside a large pot. Add enough water to come halfway up the size of the pudding mold (or bundt pan) and bring to a boil.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and suet.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the suet into the dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl, combine milk, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Add milk to flour mix and stir to combine. You may have to knead with your hands until you have a soft dough.
- Add currants and mix well.
- Transfer to greased pudding mold (or bundt pan) and spread in an even layer.
- Place inside the boiling pot of water on top of the steamer rack.
- Cover well and steam for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, check the water level. If it has evaporated too low, add some more water.
- Continue to steam for another 30-45 minutes, until set.
- Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
- Turn mold over onto a plate.
- Serve with custard.
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I remember seeing the post in FB and the laugh over the name!! But chuck the name, love how studed it looks! perfect festive dessert!
yes it really is a delicious British pudding!
This looks quite exotic. I will try it sometime soon.
It is really delicious. I am sure you will love it!
This traditional pudding looks amazing. I hadn’t realised that this pudding was made by steaming. I was so pleased to see all the ingredients were vegetarian and no eggs!! Perfect for me to try.
yes I am sure you will love it when you try it!
A wonderful and tempting traditional Christmas Pudding, who cares what its called. And I can vouch that a fruity pudding with custard is the ultimate dessert. Simply superb.
Yes the custard drizzled over the pudding takes it over the top!
I love this recipe. I have never tasted a steamed pudding this beautiful. I am quite fascinated with the name. How wonderful that you have used all the possible substitutions to make it a vegetarian recipe.
This delicious pudding is one that everyone can enjoy, including vegetarians.