Well, here we are with another unfortunately funny British food name. Remember the cock-a-leekie soup with the funny name?
The spotted Dick name comes from the ‘spotting’ of currants you see around the pudding. But who is Dick?
This part of the name seems to come from the shortened Old English names for pudding: puddog or puddick. In Scotland, it is often called Spotted Dog Pudding.
I know, it didn’t make sense to me either. I thought it was named after someone called Richard. I digress.
As I mentioned, the pudding is steamed. This is done by putting the ceramic bowl containing the dough into a large pan (I used my stock pot), filling it 2/3 with water and steaming with the lid on for 2 hours.
This produces an even cooking and makes the pudding light and moist.
I want to talk about the ingredients, particularly the shortening. Because this is a traditional British pudding, instead of shortening, something called suet is normally used.
Suet is a beef fat (not beef drippings) that is very popular in British cooking. It is used for sweet and savory dishes like dumplings and sweet minced pies.
It very popular for pastries because it produces a light and soft dough. Since suet is not available to me here in the U.S., shortening is the best substitute.
This pudding must be served with warm custard, it’s a must! If you haven’t had warm English custard, you are in for a treat.
It’s very easy to make and oh so good! Now I just need a warm fire and some cozy slippers.
And if you loved this recipe, try another British classic – Bread and Butter pudding
Spotted Dick Recipe
- 1.5 All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Baking Powder
- 5 Vegetable Shortening or butter
- 0.5 Granulated Sugar
- 4 Black Currants or raisins
- 1 Milk
- 2.5 Whole Milk
- 0.66 Granulated Sugar
- 2 Egg Yolk
- 1 Egg
- 0.25 Cornstarch
- 1 Pure Vanilla Extract
- Add the flour, baking powder and shortening to a bowl. Mix using a fork and breaking up the shortening incorporating into the flour until you see small balls. Stir in the sugar and currants or raisins, lemon zest and milk. Mix until you get a soft, sticky dough. Do not over mix.
- Grease a 1-quart (4 cup) heatproof bowl with the shortening.
- Add the dough to the bowl and cover with parchment paper and foil. Crimping the edges of the foil around the edge to seal, leaving room at the top in case the pudding expands.
- Place a cookie cutter or something similar in the bottom of the pan so the bowl is not sitting directly on the bottom of the pan.
- Place the bowl, foil side up on the cookie cutter into the pan and fill 2/3 up the bowl with hot water. Cover the pan with a lid, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours. Check periodically to make sure the water doesn’t boil dry.
- While the pudding steams, make the custard.
- Stir together the milk and sugar over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- While the milk is coming to a simmer, add the eggs to a mixing bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until smooth.
- Slowly whisk 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture until smooth. This will temper the eggs and stop them from curdling or cooking.
- Pour the egg and milk mix back into the pan with the milk and whisk over low heat until thickened.
- Once the custard has thickened, remove from the heat.
- Stir in the vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
- When the pudding is ready, carefully lift out of pan and remove foil. Use a knife to carefully loosen the pudding around the edge. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool slightly.
- Slice into wedges and serve with hot custard.