Traditional Spotted Dick – Steamed Currant Pudding
Steamed pudding with currants is popular in the UK and throughout the British isles. Served with Devon custard, it a decadent holiday treat! In Ireland, it is very traditional to enjoy on Christmas.
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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 don’t know what all the giggles are about – 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, bur 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.
Steamed Puddings, although they will not always be this currant version is a British holiday tradition.
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
HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL SPOTTED DICK
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- shredded suet or butter
- vanilla extract
- Devon custard
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.
Cook until it is firm and a tester inserted comes out clean.
and then smother in the delicious custard!
Traditional Spotted Dick – UK Christmas Pudding
- 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.
Other Holiday Treats
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