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Spotted Dick: The Topic


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23 replies to this topic

#1 Peter the eater

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:34 AM

I know, it sounds more like a venereal disease than a delicious dessert but it is definitely a favourite of mine, when I can find it. Such a notorious delight is worthy of its own thread. From the eG search engine I see it was discussed 5 years ago here and I did see another topic about English puddings, but I can't seem to find it.

Spotted Dick, as I know it, is: flour, salt, suet, raisins or currants, and breadcrumbs steamed into pudding form then served with custard or brown sugar.

I don't know that its very well known outside of the UK. I have only had it served to me in London and Victoria, BC. The only place I know of around here in Atlantic Canada that has it is the Mountain Equipment Coop (sporty retail store) but it is dehydrated in a foil pouch. It is good this way but I think one can do better at home with the right recipe.

In Newfoundland you can get figgy duff which is related but clearly not the same.

I'd like to see some spotted dick recipes, anecdotes and/or images . . .

Edited by Peter the eater, 16 November 2007 - 11:37 AM.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

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#2 Mr. Delicious

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 12:02 PM

I have only had the heinz brand "spotted dick" but I would also love a recipe. It was great, we ate it at work and told dick jokes all day, what good fun!

#3 gfron1

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 01:34 PM

We sell quite a few of the Heinz dicks at my store. I strategically group them with jars of cockles and Uncle Joe's mint balls.

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#4 Ted Fairhead

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 05:13 PM

I know, it sounds more like a venereal disease than a delicious dessert but it is definitely a favourite of mine, when I can find it. Such a notorious delight is worthy of its own thread. From the eG search engine I see it was discussed 5 years ago here and I did see another topic about English puddings, but I can't seem to find it.

Spotted Dick, as I know it, is: flour, salt, suet, raisins or currants, and breadcrumbs steamed into pudding form then served with custard or brown sugar.

I'd like to see some spotted dick recipes, anecdotes and/or images . . .

View Post


O.K. You asked for it! I'll post the recipe in the Recipe section tonight, but first I'd like to clarify a few points. In my large cockney extended family, we always called it "Spotted Dog". I have always assumed that the name derived from its resemblance to a dalmation dog.
The steamed sponge pudding that some manufacturers put out in canned form is most definitely NOT a Spotted Dick(or Dog).
Looking at the forum you referenced it said something about hospital managers named it spotted richard to avoid embarrassment to patients who requested it! I personally can't believe it would ever be served in a hospital as delicious as it is, it is surely terrible for your cholesterol.
My Mum would serve it hot with Tate and Lyles Golden Syrup drizzled over, or occasionally, with Bird's Custard. My American wife discovered that she likes it sliced and fried in butter then served with syrup!
The first suet pudding I made shortly after we were married horrified her during the mixing and she confessed later that she thought she would be ill if she ate it. She not only ate it that night but had the left overs for breakfast the next day!
By the way, after we had the steak suet pudding the other night (see: "What did we have for Dinner?"thread) I made a spotted dog with the left over pastry.

#5 Jane Die

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 05:59 PM

There will be several Yuletide puddings served this year. I'll make sure Spotted Dick is among them if I can find Mr. Fairhead's recipe. I've never had the pleasure of tasting it or cooking it, so I'm looking forward to it. There will be photos.

#6 Peter the eater

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 07:12 PM

O.K. You asked for it! I'll post the recipe in the Recipe section tonight, but first I'd like to clarify a few points.  In my large cockney extended family, we always called it "Spotted Dog".  I have always assumed that the name derived from its resemblance to a dalmation dog.


Well that explains the pub in Toronto (Bloor St. E of Yonge) named the Spotted Dick with the large dalmatian dog sculpture out front, pretty sure its still there.

I look forward to trying out your recipe, thank you for sharing!
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#7 The Old Foodie

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Posted 16 November 2007 - 11:30 PM

It is also called steamed dicky, dicky pudding, and plum bolster (the most evocative name I think). In refined modern parlance it is sometimes called Spotted Richard.

Here is a recipe from Alexis Soyer’s Shilling Cookery for the People (1854)

Spotted Dick.—Put three-quarters of a pound of flour into 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 a little sugar over.

Rib-sticking food it is, perfectly suitable for filling up gangly permanently hungry English schoolboys.
Happy Feasting

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#8 mukki

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 03:06 PM

I've only had it once, at St. John's in London, but it was delicious. I'll try to find one of our photos and upload it. Perhaps Fergus Henderson has a recipe in one of his cookbooks?

#9 jackal10

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 04:09 PM

Spotted dick (currants not raisins) is one of a vast family of suet puddings.

#10 Peter the eater

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Posted 17 November 2007 - 04:45 PM

Spotted dick (currants not raisins) is one of a vast family of suet puddings.

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Thanks for that, what would you call it with raisins instead of currants?
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#11 jackal10

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 01:48 AM

Spotted dog with raisins was originally Plum Duff.
In some versions (see for example the NYT of 1898)http://query.nytimes...7CF&oref=slogin Plum Duff is not plums but a name for raisin
However Alan Davidson in the Oxford Companion to food mentions raisins in conjunction with spotted dick, and points out that spotted dick is rolled with the dried fruit in layers, like a roly poly, whereas spotted dog the dried fruit is mixed with the dough and the pudding moulded in a basin or pudding cloth...

#12 andiesenji

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 11:38 AM

Wikipedia has a list of most of the names by which this pudding is known.

Here is another recipe.

and here's a bit of whimsy about Tesco's marketing of it.

and
another recipe along with a recipe for the custard

and some more musings on the origin of the name.
Spotted Dick and its history.
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#13 Peter the eater

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 12:52 PM

Wikipedia has a list of most of the names by which this pudding is known.

Here is another recipe.

and here's a bit of whimsy about Tesco's marketing of it.

and
another recipe along with a recipe for the custard

and some more musings on the origin of the name.
Spotted Dick and its history.

View Post


Excellent.

I plan to make some this week for posting here.
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#14 Ted Fairhead

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 09:51 PM

There will be several Yuletide puddings served this year. I'll make sure Spotted Dick is among them if I can find Mr. Fairhead's recipe. I've never had the pleasure of tasting it or cooking it, so I'm looking forward to it. There will be photos.

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Peter the Eater,  I plan to make some this week for posting here.


I searched and searched and finally found my Mum's hand-written recipe for Christmas Pudding. It's also a suet pudding and would be served with custard.
I am posting it in the E-gullet recipes section.
It is a little late to be making it for this Christmas as my Mum would make it about 4-6 months before, cook it, then store it in a cool dark closet, (she had no refrigeration), and occasionally feed it a couple of tablespoons of dark rum. Then on the day, she'd steam it for another couple of hours. I have even had one that was saved from the previous Christmas.

#15 Jane Die

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Posted 18 November 2007 - 10:15 PM

I searched and searched and finally found my Mum's hand-written recipe for Christmas Pudding.  It's also a suet pudding and would be served with custard.
I am posting it in the E-gullet recipes section. 
It is a little late to be making it for this Christmas as my Mum would make it about 4-6 months before, cook it, then store it in a cool dark closet, (she had no refrigeration), and occasionally feed it a couple of tablespoons of dark rum.  Then on the day, she'd steam it for another couple of hours. I have even had one that was saved from the previous Christmas.

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Amazing! I presume it was the spirits that kept the whole thing from going completely off and furry by the time it was to be served? Talk about the proverbial cool, dark place coming into play! I will certainly save this one for an attempt next year, though I'm still tempted to get it started for serving perhaps on some pagan festival (no, not Festivus!) in the not-too-distant future, say 4-6 months away as your Mum would suggest.

#16 jackal10

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 01:46 AM

Its not too late. Next weekend is "Stir Up Sunday", the traditional last date; (STIR UP our hearts, we beseech they O Lord that they may PLENTIFULY BRING FORTH THE FRUIT of our labours...)

Recipes for Christmas pud and for Mincemeat tarts are in Autumn and Festive preserves http://forums.egulle...showtopic=30785

Its also just time to salt a ham for Xmas..

#17 Ted Fairhead

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 10:16 AM

Its not too late. Next weekend is "Stir Up Sunday", the traditional last date; (STIR UP our hearts, we beseech they O Lord that they may PLENTIFULY BRING FORTH THE FRUIT of our labours...)

Recipes for Christmas pud and for Mincemeat tarts are in Autumn and Festive preserves http://forums.egulle...showtopic=30785

Its also just time to salt a ham for Xmas..

View Post


Bravo E-gullet !!! I heartily endorse Jackal10's message here. The team has put together an amazing array of preserves and the recipes for Xmas Pud and Mince tarts are exactly as I remember my Mum doing. The background info is also fascinating.
I do have to admit that I buy Crosse and Blackwell's mincemeat for my mince pies as I have never attempted to make my own.

Edited by Ted Fairhead, 19 November 2007 - 10:27 AM.


#18 Jane Die

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 11:51 AM

Crikey! That's bloody brilliant, Jackal. Thanks for sharing, everyone in this little thread. :wub:

#19 nibor

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 11:04 AM

I still wonder if it is too late to make Xmas pudding this year.

Another question: can you make steamed puddings in little individual sized molds or do you have to make one big one?

#20 jackal10

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 11:43 AM

Yes, you can still make puds, but I would boil them a bit longer to compensate for less maturing

Christmas puds and the like that are all in one can be made in individual moulds, such as ramekins or dariole moulds, but puddings with an outer layer of pastry, like steak and kidney or sussex pond or brown betty do not scale well as the ratio of inside to pastry is wrong in small sizes.

Edited by jackal10, 07 December 2007 - 02:06 PM.


#21 nibor

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 11:53 AM

Yes, you can still make puds, but I would boil hem a bit longer to compensate for less maturing

Christmas puds and the like that are all in one can be made in individual moulds, such as ramekins or dariole moulds, but puddings with an outer later of pastry, like steak and kidney or sussex pond or brown betty do not scale well as the ratio of inside to pastry is wrong in small sizes.

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Thanks much jackal10!

#22 Ted Fairhead

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 08:03 PM

This is my version of a Spotted Dog. I was only making a small one and I didn't have basin for it so I wrapped it tightly in heavy duty foil for boiling. The dried fruit was currants and golden raisins, It was served warm with Lyles Golden Syrup
Posted Image

Edited by Ted Fairhead, 07 December 2007 - 08:35 PM.


#23 Hawthorne

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 09:57 PM

It is also called steamed dicky, dicky pudding, and plum bolster (the most evocative name I think). In refined modern parlance it is sometimes called Spotted Richard.

Here is a recipe from Alexis Soyer’s Shilling Cookery for the People (1854)

Spotted Dick.—Put three-quarters of a pound of flour into 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 a little sugar over.

Rib-sticking food it is, perfectly suitable for filling up gangly permanently hungry English schoolboys.

View Post


So .. shall I try this recipe .. ? Or are you illustrating an historic recipe form, which can sometimes be tricky in the execution :-)

Actually, I have a couple not unlike this of my grandmother's, and they mostly come out very well, though I did discover that her wedding cake recipe included liquid only as an addendum, and an inaccurate one at that! lol!

This looks like a perfectly good recipe (though maybe quite a lot of suet?), and I might use it to christen my departed aunt's antique pudding basins, which my uncle has just most kindly sent to me. If I do it (my list has become alarmingly long since my husband had a heart attack, from which he is now mostly recovered) I will let you know how it came out. I should say that I have eaten steamed puddings fairly often in the days of my misspent youth, but haven't yet made one. It's way too late for plum pudding this Christmas, but I am hoping to have got the gist of the thing by next summer, when it's time for next year's plum pudding, as I have my grandmother's recipe for that too.

thanks!
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#24 broadway

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 05:04 PM

This looks like a perfectly good recipe (though maybe quite a lot of suet?), and I might use it to christen my departed aunt's antique pudding basins, which my uncle has just most kindly sent  to me. If I do it (my list has become alarmingly long since my husband had a heart attack, from which he is now mostly recovered) I will let you know how it came out. I should say that I have eaten steamed puddings fairly often in the days of my misspent youth, but haven't yet made one. It's way too late for plum pudding this Christmas, but I am hoping to have got the gist of the thing by next summer, when it's time for next year's plum pudding, as I have my grandmother's recipe for that too.

thanks!

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Most suet puddings have less suet and no eggs, so I would try to use something like this one.

It is not too late to make a Christmas pudding for this year. They can be matured for longer, but "stir up" Sunday is the 23rd of November in 2008.

Your antique moulds are for set desserts, a standard pudding basin may be a better option. Pudding basins choices are somewhat limited in the USA, but Amazon have Mason Cash basins and Golda's Kitchen gives the capacity of the various sizes. A 2 pint basin is enough for 6-8 for a normal steamed pudding, a rich Christmas pudding would be more like 8-10.