How to make traditional spotted dick

Written by mel henderson
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How to make traditional spotted dick
Spotted dick is one of the most underappreciated puddings in Britain. Fact! (Getty Premium images)

"Spotted Dick? Dick of what?" "The Spotted Dick is a dessert." "Can I just have some ice cream?"

— John Goodman as King Ralph in a scene from film of the same name.

There are some foods that always remain institutions among British cuisine. The roast dinner, the bangers and mash, the sticky toffee pudding, the toad in the hole, etc etc. The Spotted Dick, however, is something that not many people often serve as a regular dessert dish.

The name

The spotted bit of the name covers the currants or raisins put into the mixture, as they give the dessert – funnily enough – spots. The “dick” part of the name has much more of a controversial spin on it, ending with not many concrete answers, so therefore, probably best left alone. To read on about the history of the name, check the Resources section.

The contents

It is not, as you might think, a regular cake-like sponge. The actual contents of this widely popular British pudding surround a scarier-than-you-might-think set of ingredients. The main one is something called suet. If you’ve never heard of it before, that’s ok, because it’s something that’s only used for certain old-school recipes. Suet is a mix of mutton fat extracted from the loins and kidneys of sheep. Yes. It’s what gives the pudding its sponge-like consistency.

The making

1) Put all of the ingredients minus the milk into a mixing bowl and stir together.

2) Pour in the milk carefully and blend together. You’re looking for it to make a dough-like consistency.

3) Grease a large bowl with butter and carefully pour in the mixture.

4) Lay a folded piece of greaseproof paper over the top of the mixture and cover with a damp tea towel. Tie around it with string if you can, to keep it secure.

5) Put the bowl into a large saucepan about three-quarters filled with water.

6) Turn on the hob to a mid-to-high heat until the water boils.

7) Put the lid on the saucepan, turn down the heat to low on the hob and let the mixture simmer for an hour.

8) Check the consistency, but it should be soft and spongey.

9) Serve with custard and a tiny sprig of nutmeg.

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