Puddings are the backbone of British food and one familiar with everyone is the great Spotted Dick. The name of this classic English pudding usually will raise a smile or look of abject horror which is why some prefer the less-well-known title of “Spotted Dog Pudding" but it doesn't quite sound the same.
Spotted Dick is not a pudding for the faint-hearted or those on a diet as made from suet, flour and dried fruit it is high in calories. It is, however, the perfect pudding for a treat on a cold winter's day. And, a little now and again is OK.
- In a small bowl mix the raisins, currants, sugar and lemon rind for the filling.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl; add the suet and the salt and rub together to combine. Add a little milk and using a knife to cut through the mixture, adding more milk little by little until it comes together. Finally use your hands to combine into a soft, elastic dough. Add more milk if necessary.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle approx 20cm x 30cm (8 x 12 inches).
- Evenly spread the pudding filling mixture over the dough leaving a 1cm/ 1/2 inch border. Paint this with a little cold water. Roll up carefully from the narrow end.
- Soak a clean tea towel or cloth napkin in boiling water for a few minutes, squeeze to remove excess water.
- Wrap the suet roll pudding in the napkin twisting at each end securing with kitchen string.
- Steam the pudding roll for 2 hours in a steamer. Alternatively, wrap the pudding suet roll in foil and bake in a hot oven (200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6) for 1 hour 30 mins.
- Unwrap immediately, cut into thick slices and serve in warmed bowls with lashings of custard.
Where Does Spotted Dick Get its Name?
It is believed the spotted part refers to the raisins and currants in the dough and the word dick' is a colloquial word for pudding originating from the first word for pudding, a "puddick" or "puddog".
There are stories around of that the pudding is named after beloved dogs, but there is little historical fact to back this up. Who cares, though, the pudding is delicious no matter where the name originates.