Food! Spotted Dick, What the heck is a pudding called that??

Luscious Steamed Spotted Dick
Luscious Steamed Spotted Dick
Suet, the raw material
Suet, the raw material
You can even buy it canned in a neat, colorful tin.
You can even buy it canned in a neat, colorful tin.

In Praise of Suet

Not many people know this, but suet is the hard fat that cocoons the kidneys. It is very hard in deed and lends itself to being grated. Fortunately for washing up haters every where, you can buy suet ready grated and lightly dusted with flour, well you can in the UK, I haven't seen it for sale in the USA, but if you talk nicely to your butcher, I'm sure he will find some for you. Beef is best Naturally, as it is hard saturated fat, it comes with a health warning. Anyway, that aside, for those brave trenchermen still up for it, here is my take on Spotted Dick! By the way, I could find no explanation to its rather strange name. The best Wikipedia could come up with was that the dried fruit made it spotty and Dick was a derivative of dough but who were they kidding?

Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding made of the fore mentioned suet, flour and dried fruit. My Mum used to make it on Mondays as she could stick it on to boil and leave it to its own devices for at least two hours, which let her get on with the washing (it being Monday, washing day ) Dear Pam Ayres of poetic fame used to recite a poem about coming home from school and if they saw the pudding cloth flapping on the washing line they knew they were in for a lovely steamed pudding with yellow custard. They were much simpler times in the years just after WW11 in the UK. Food was short, flour and suet were available and produced a very nice light sponge pudding, quite delicious with custard. I mean the bright yellow concoction made from a packet, not the posh eggy kind!

Here is how my Mum used to make it. There are many ways to make Spotted Dick, there is even a Youtube video of how to make it, but it is a modern version made with butter, this is the version from the past as Spotted Dick originated around 1850.

Ingredients for Spotted Dick

2 oz Prepared suet (if you have to prepare your own, grate coarsely and dust lightly with some of the flour, remove any skin)

4 oz S R Flour plus pinch of salt Brown sugar to taste (Approx 1 oz should suffice).

Grated rind of one lemon 1 egg

4 oz Currants, Raisins or Sultanas (Pick over currants carefully if used)

Milk or water to mix to a soft, elastic dough.

Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg then add the egg and sufficient milk or water to make the soft dough. At this stage you should decide if you are going to use a pudding basin, if you possess one, or if you are going to use the famous pudding cloth. Turn the mixture into a greased pudding basin. If your pudding basin does not have a lid, cover with grease proofed paper and tie around the top. Place carefully in a pan containing boiling water and simmer with the pan lid on for at least two hours. To prepare the pudding using a cloth, form the dough into a fat oblong able to fit into your pan. Wrap in grease proofed paper joining the edges with a pleat. Wrap firmly in a cotton or linen square of fabric, tying tightly at both ends and lower carefully into the pan of boiling water. Simmer for at least two hours. Top up the pan with boiling water not cold when the water level drops so as to keep up the boil.

To serve, remove from pan carefully, allow to cool slightly then placing a plate over the pudding dish invert the dish so that the pudding turns out onto the plate. You may need to loosen the sides with a knife if it sticks. Unwrap the pudding if that was your method of choice a place on serving dish. Save the pudding cloth for next time, carefully washing it in a non fragrant detergent and rinsing well. Prepare a jug of hot custard and enjoy!


The Final Word

A Homage to Spotted Dick (though a little Down Market!)......All photos courtesy Flickr
A Homage to Spotted Dick (though a little Down Market!)......All photos courtesy Flickr

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Comments 43 comments

Not Telling profile image

Not Telling 7 years ago from Eastern Nowhere

I'm clairvoyant. I predict this hub will get an inordinate amount of traffic. :)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks, Not Telling I appreciate your comment. My food hubs have been getting much more traffic than my travel ones.


RVDaniels profile image

RVDaniels 7 years ago from Athens, GA

Thanks Willow. I have always wondered what this dish was.


lrohner profile image

lrohner 7 years ago from USA

I've been waiting for this since your Toad in the Hole hub. Well done!


dawei888 profile image

dawei888 7 years ago

Gypsy Willow - I will be very, very surprized if this hub doesn't get a score of 100 for originality and great title! Spotted Dick sounds very delicious and I'm sure thousands of readers out there can't wait to get their hands on this dish. cheers, dawei888


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Gypsy Willow, sounds delicious. So, precisely why is it called spotted dick?


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hey Aya, you'd better ask Not Telling! :)


rb11 profile image

rb11 7 years ago from Las Vegas

Do you suggest using beef or lamb suet?


Jodi Hoeksel profile image

Jodi Hoeksel 7 years ago

Too Much!! Oh my, Gypsy. It looks better than the name!! lol : )


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi rb11, Good point. I would use beef but I have to admit I've never tried lamb as prepared suet is easily obtainable in the UK. Thanks for pointing that out!


shibashake profile image

shibashake 7 years ago

Love your new series of recipes. Someone brought this in at work once - we had a good laugh over the name. Not the most appetizing for a type of food - lol.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Guys Glad you are enjoying my recipe series, but this is a difficult one to follow! Any suggestions?


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Such a co-incidence...have been watching a BBC series of Agatha Christie films and the very English Inspector Japp is always eating Spotted Dick! I've been meaning to look up what this..er...interesting sounding dessert is ever since and now I know! Thank you GW. :)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Glad to be of assistance FP.


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

I am sorry, i too see it on many bbc shows (my favorites) but as an American, I just could not see myself ordering it with out an incredibly stupid smile on my face.


fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

lol I thought this was a spammer from the forum talking about a VD!!! Sounds like an interesting recipe as well! I bet you get a lot of unexpected traffic on this one!

fpto


Kushal Poddar profile image

Kushal Poddar 7 years ago from Kolkata,India

I am sooo delighted to see food:)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Paper Moon This was on the menu of a British Hospital as Spotted Richard but overwhelming protests got it changed back to Spotted Dick. The person serving this epicurean delight will probably have a stupid smile on their face too!!!

Fortunerep. VD???? Can't imagine where that idea came from!!!

Kushal Glad to make you happy! :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

The title attracted my attention! I thought it was something about chicken pox on ... oh! I have a clean mind!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

So glad about your mind Quicksand!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

About the name - "Dick" was often in times past a slang reference to the devil...but I can't come up with any reasonable connection between him and this food. Anyway, the tide of conversation deserves to be turned. ;-)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks for the input, Joy. I think that is more plausible than a derivitive of dough. Dough is more related though!


RKHenry profile image

RKHenry 7 years ago from Your neighborhood museum

I'm glad I came across this delightful hub. Love the pics!


christine almaraz profile image

christine almaraz 7 years ago from colorado springs

I've always wanted to know what spotted dick was ever since I heard it mentioned in a movie. I think it was Shanghi Knights. Of course I thought it was something perverse.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi RK Glad you paid a visit, Thanks for the comment

Hi Christine, Tut,tut! Good to see you Welcome!


R. Blue profile image

R. Blue 7 years ago from Right here

Thank God woman....I was afraid there was something new and painful out there that I might catch...what a relief.....only a dessert!!! Well it certainly looks good and not painful at all.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi R. Blue, sorry for the shock!! Glad its all OK down there! It really is very tasty. I'll for warn you about my next hub... Cock a leekie so don't rush out to buy Depends! It's only Scottish humor at its tasty best


R. Blue profile image

R. Blue 7 years ago from Right here

Gypsy....you're such a tease....I see you have the title thing figured out pretty well.


Tiptopcat profile image

Tiptopcat 7 years ago from London, UK

I love love love spotted dick as well as jam roly poly. This brought back memories of primary school lunches. thank you. yum.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

R Blue, come into my parlor said the spider to the fly! :)

Tiptopcat, welcome. I am revisiting my childhood with this series of recipes,check out the others. Thanks for the comment


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Primary school lunch flashbacks for me, too!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Thanks for visiting, London Girl. It didn't do us any harm, did it?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

GW - I saw your comment about your hub on this unusual dessert on Nell's site and just had to come look for it. Amazing that there's even a little restaurant by the name and even Spotted Dick in a can by Heinz! wow!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Glad you stopped by Nellieanna, it actually wasn't an unusual dessert when I was at school. We probably had it once a week with yellow cornflower custard. It's a wonder we didn't leave school like little tubs! I have to say I really enjoyed it but I wouldn't choose it now, it would go straight to my hips!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, Gypsy Willow, ha ha I think it is okay now! your ads seem to be back, maybe I shocked them into realising that you weren't being rude! cheers nell


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

Hi Nell I don't want ads as my adsense has been ended. I did contact them and explain but now its flagged for too many tags! no wonder I've stopped writing


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

Slightly remnant of a delectable dish called Bread Pudding revered in the southern U.S,thanks for sharing Gypsy Willow.;)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

All these old fashioned puds are delicious and satisfying. Thanks for coming by!


MarlonC profile image

MarlonC 5 years ago

Hi GW! Though I understood suet to be beef fat I certainly was not aware of the precise type until reading your hub! I have heard that 'pudding' originally meant something made with suet, whence savoury puddings such as Yorkshire and Steak and kidney. The reference to a pudding cloth taken together with Joy At Home's comment about the etymology made me think - my father told me there is a Scottish pud called a clootie dumpling, cloot meaning cloth/clothing (cast ne'er a cloot till May is oot!), and I know Clootie to be another name for the devil - could this be the connection, one wonders...


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

I never knew Clootie to be another name for the devil! I use the little rhyme all the time, in fact this very day wondering whether to leave the vest off the baby! I love suet puddings especially on a cold winters day. Pam Ayres the famous English poet wrote an Ode to the pudding cloth. So funny! Are you a Brit? Thanks for dropping by!


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

It is a wonderful learning experience. Are you a Pam Ayres fan? Thanks for the comment.


platinumOwl4 profile image

platinumOwl4 3 years ago

I first heard of this dish while viewing an episode of Sherlock Holmes. Thanks for sharing the recipe.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand Author

It is a venerable British dish that our ancestors thrived on. My grandparents ate suet puddings regularly and survived the experience to live to 95. Not a bad innings.

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