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Save the Spotted Dick

Requiem for the roly-poly as sticky puddings become a sweet memory - Times Online

Traditional puddings such as spotted dick, treacle tart and jam roly-poly are disappearing from the dinner table.

They are now a rarity on restaurant menus and diet-conscious diners have made some of the stickiest sweets endangered species, according to new research for Premier Foods.

It shows that the average British household eats a traditional hot pudding less than once a year

Now that is grim news - even if you don't steam your own spotted dick which can take hours the microwave means it is a dish that can be heated up in seconds - so no excuses about lack of time please.

Recipe below - of course.

The 1961 edition of Mrs Beeton says that you can use either beef or mutton suet in pudding but that beef is better. Pre-shredded animal or vegetable suet is available in packets in shops. However, if you’re feeling a yearn to be especially authentic, then ask your butcher for the suet. To prepare it for cooking you’ll need to remove the skin and fibrous tissue. Sprinkle it liberally with some flour and then shred or cut it into flakes before chopping it finely. More flour comes in handy if the suet gets sticky and starts sticking to the knife.

170 g currants
340 g plain flour
2 rounded tsp baking-powder
1/4 tsp salt
140 g finely chopped suet
a dribble of milk to mix

Sift together the flour, baking-powder and salt. Mix in the currants and the suet and then add enough milk to make a soft, but firm dough. If you slip with the milk and the mixture feels too sticky, use a bit more flour to get the consistency right. Form the dough into a roll and place it in a well-floured pudding cloth or a large piece of baking parchment. Roll it up loosely and tie it firmly at both ends so it looks a little like a Christmas cracker.

You can either steam the pudding over a pot of boiling water for about 2 1/2 hours or you can drop it into the pot of boiling water and simmer it for 2-2 1/2 hours. If you’re going to do the latter, I’ve been advised that using the pudding cloth (or a clean tea towel) instead of the baking parchment gives a much better result. Serve hot with lots of custard. Perhaps wise to also wait a couple of hours before going swimming or indulging in any other strenuous exercise. A nap might be a good idea.


A few years ago I was given a copy of the National trust Book of traditional English Puddings and Desserts. It's a veritable treasure trove of splendid puds (and is probably a major factor in my current expanded waistline).

Looking at their site I see it is no longer published. But they do have a Complete Traditional Recipe Book, which I imagine is a complation of various volumes. (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-trust/w-support/w-shopping_with_nt/w-books/w-books-complete_traditional_recipe_book.htm)

Needless to say, it's just been added to my (lengthy) letter to Father Christmas.

I have been trying to buy a christmas pudding containing suet...all are now suitable for vegetarians!

If ever there was a sign that the Apocalypse looms ever nearer, this would be it.

Next thing, the Pump Room will stop serving sticky toffee pudding.

And then the Empire will truly be finished.

My mother used to do it in a ceramic pudding bowl standing partially submerged in a very big pot of boiling water. Spotted dick is improved immeasurably if one makes one's own custard (which is simplicity itself, being nothing more than egg yolks, cream, sugar and a bit of vanilla.)

Such traditional puddings should not have to disappear from our dinner tables.
For diet conscious diners, it is possible to lower the calories in a pudding without doing away with it.
For a start, try serving slightly smaller portions.
Also, one could try using skimmed milk and 'light' vegetable suet for the pudding along with low calorie jam, if doing roly poly. Butter could also be replaced by lower calorie margarines.
Even using these lower fat ingredients will still turn out a delicious pudding which can be enjoyed without the worry over calorie content.

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