Just what is Spotted Dick and how do you serve it? Find out more about this tasty and traditional British dessert and try your hand at making your own!
While many associate England with tea or fish and chips, there are lots of other traditional dishes enjoyed by Brits that seem to go unheard of here in the States!
A warming, delicious and quintessentially British dessert is the bizarrely named ‘Spotted Dick’. You may also hear this dessert (or pudding, as the British call it) - referred to as spotted dog or railway cake.
It's particularly popular with children and is a traditional British school dessert.
Spotted Dick is made of suet and dried fruit - generally currants or raisins - and served with warm, golden custard.
So why the name ‘Spotted Dick’?
Well, the 'spotted' part of the name refers to the dried fruit that is seen throughout the dessert, as it resembles spots. And interestingly, in the late 19th century, other terms for pudding were dick or dog. Hence, the pudding speckled with fruit was known as a Spotted Dick!
The traditional way of making Spotted Dick is with suet. Suet is a popular ingredient in the UK and is used in many puddings, pastries and sweet mincemeat. It's basically a saturated fat - meat suet adds a rich flavor to meat pies, whereas vegetarian suet is used for lighter foods.
Suet comes from the fat that surrounds the kidneys of animals, usually cows and mutton. To make suet, fat is removed from the meat, then chopped and boiled in water to remove any impurities.
Once boiled, it needs to be cooled so that the water and fat separate; the fat that remains from this process is the suet.
Whilst the method of suet's production doesn't sound too appetizing, it does add a rich flavor to sweet dishes, without making it taste like the beef or mutton from which it originated!
Suet is hard to find in the US, though - so if you don't have a British store nearby, you can use vegetable shortening or butter instead!
To keep this dessert traditional, you may need to invest in a pudding basin. This is a type of bowl that is designed to steam puddings. Pudding basins are generally made of glazed earthenware or tempered glass and form a circular dome, which will give your Spotted Dick its signature shape.
You won’t be disappointed with this traditional British pudding, so do give it a try - it's perfect served with a cup of tea!