Using A Pudding Cloth: A Sausage Shaped Pudding:
In a large mixing bowl sieve in the flour. Then add in the sea salt, cinnamon, sugar, shredded suet, and the currants (or raisins). Using a wooden spoon mix these ingredients together, then add in the beaten eggs and cold milk, keep mixing with the spoon until it comes together. If the mixture is a little wet and in more plain flour. The mixture should be of a firmer consistency than if made in a pudding basin (see above) it should be almost like a bread dough.
To make spotted dick pudding in the traditional shape, a long sausage shape, form the mixture into a thick cylinder. Place the pudding on two large rectangle sheets of baking parchment – then wrap the pudding dough tightly in this double piece of baking parchment, twist the ends of the paper parcel to secure, then wrap it in a piece of muslin cloth, or a thin clean tea-towel, and use string to secure the ends.
Sit the cloth package on a rack, so that it is a few centimetres or so off the bottom, inside a water bath (a fish kettle) or large roasting tin, and fill with boiling water, making sure that the water covers the package. Put the lid on the water bath, or cover the roasting tin with a foil cover, and boil for 2 hours (make sure it never runs dry of water).
To test the pudding push a metal skewer into the pudding and see that it comes out clean and hot.
Tasting Notes: This is no ordinary stodgy suet pudding. I have made many versions of Spotted Dick but Alexis Soyer’s 1854 recipe simply cannot be beat, in a pudding basin it steams light and fluffy, with just the right amount of sugar and currants, (with the barest background note of cinnamon). Served with a really good custard it is a million miles away from being a ‘joke’ of a pudding … more like ‘heavenly’, when you are in the mood for it.
Spotted Dick has now become one of the best loved of the older, classic British puddings; however it should be noted that it was also a favourite pudding of Americans, particularly in New England, in the mid 1800s too … but whatever the pedigree of this dish, it really does remain the perfect pudding ‘treat’ on a cold winter’s day. Don’t be put off by thinking boiling or steaming traditional puddings is difficult, it isn’t, and when you make a traditional pudding like this, you will be hooked …
Original Recipe For Spotted Dick 1850
From ‘The Modern Housewife’, by Alexis Soyer, Published 1850
764. Plum Bolster, Or Spotted Dick
Roll out two pounds of paste (No. 685), having some Smyrna raisins well washed, and place them on it here and there, roll over, tie in a cloth, and boil one hour, and serve with butter and brown sugar.
685. Puff Paste, With Beef Suet
Where you cannot obtain good butter for making paste, the following is an excellent substitute; skin and chop one pound of kidney beef suet very fine, put it into a mortar and pound it well, moistening with a little oil, until becoming as it were one piece, and about the consistency of butter, proceed exactly as in the last, using it instead of butter.
Original Recipe For Spotted Dick 1854
Note: This recipe was taken directly from Alexis Soyer’s later work ‘A Shilling Cookery’ from 1854
From ‘The New England Farmer’, by Samuel Cole, Published 1855
& From ‘Practical American Cookery’ by Elizabeth M. Hall, Published 1860
Put three-quarters of a pound of flour in a basin, half a pound of beef suet, half ditto of currants, two ounces of sugar, a little cinnamon, mix with two eggs and two gills of milk, boil in either mould or cloth for one hour and a-half; serve with melted butter and sugar over.