Spotted Dick Sponge is a classic British dessert. traditionally served as a school pudding and delicious served with custard. Learn how to make it!
In England, the majority of people refer to dessert as 'pudding', but there are only certain types of desserts that can be truly classed as 'puddings'.
A true pudding is one that is either boiled or steamed.
Suet puddings, sponges, and Christmas puddings fall into the category of true puddings. These puddings are steamed or boiled in a pudding basin covered with cloth.
Spotted Dick Sponge is a true classic pudding, made from a suet base and slightly sweetened with currants (or other dried fruit) and hints of lemon.
While its bizarre name can sometimes cause giggles, it makes perfect sense once you know its history!
Many years ago, the term 'dick' was used to mean pudding and the term ‘spotted’ came from the appearance of the sponge, due to the currants ‘spotted’ throughout it.
Even though the origin of its name is entirely innocent, a supermarket in England actually renamed it ‘Suet Pudding with Currants’, and the Flintshire Country Council renamed this pub classic ‘Spotted Richard’.
Most recipes call for lemon zest, but you can also include orange zest to add more zing.
To plump up your dried fruit and zest for use in this sponge, soak them in some lemon or orange juice before starting the recipe.
A traditional Spotted Dick is made with an animal fat called suet, which is hard to get in the US. The nearest equivalent is vegetable shortening, or butter.
Using a pudding sleeve
While it's traditional to steam the sponge in a pudding basin to give it its traditional shape, you can also try using a pudding sleeve.
If using a pudding sleeve, you should roll your pastry out, sprinkle a third of the dried fruit on it, fold in half and roll out again, repeating the process until you have added all of the dried fruit.
You then roll the pastry into a sausage shape and wrap loosely with a buttered piece of foil, finished by wrapping it in a cloth before placing in a pan to simmer.
This recipe is for the traditional version of Spotted Dick - feel free to tweak it and get as creative as you like!