09 December, 2012

A Very Harry Christmas, Day 9: Spotted Dick

If I told you that the English love their "puddings" would you be surprised?  I wouldn't either.  Their culinary history is rich with custards, creams, puddings (even meat puddings!) and some pretty darn creative meat dishes that are just fabulous.  But, when you think pudding, I am sure you think of that creamy, velvety stuff you make on the stove or buy ready made in the refrigerated section.  Those puddings aren't what I am talking about...

Traditional English puddings are more like cakes and sometimes even pie, but they have savory puddings and dessert puddings (like what you'd call the stuff the American's refer to as "pudding") that would put most American puddings to shame.  Wikipedia actually has a pretty thorough entry on pudding, if you want to learn more about it.

But lets get to it shall we?!  I will preface this with...spotted dick is traditionally served with custard.  The HP Cookbook doesn't include a recipe for it on the page, but there was a recipe for "custard sauce" toward the front.  So I am making the dick as is, but including a recipe for traditional English custard sauce at the end of the page for full range of effect on this dessert.  Having it steamed as a mode of "baking" should keep it plenty moist, but custard is traditional...so you should give it a go at least once.

*This traditionally is made with suet.  I do keep suet in my house for certain recipes, so I did use suet.  The book mentioned suet was traditional but used butter in the recipe instead.  I'm not sure why...

Spotted Dick
2 c. flour
2 c. fresh bread crumbs
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. golden raisins
1 c. dried cranberries or currants
3/4 c. whole milk

Fill a large pot with water and place a rack or overturned bowl in the pot.  Bring to a simmer.  Grease a 2-quart heatproof (glass is best) bowl with a tight fitting lid.  (If you don't have a lid, like I didn't, you can "tent" your bowl of pudding with foil...there are pictures below.) and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing bowl.  Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some larger pieces of butter remaining.  (I just used my pastry cutter/blender...much quicker.)  Toss in the raisins and cranberries OR currants.  Pour in the milk and fold it in until the mixture is uniformly moistened.  Turn out the mixture into the prepared dish and press the top down with a spatula.

Cover the dish with the lid (I made a "tent" out of foil because I didn't have a dish with a lid), making sure it is tightly sealed.  Place it in the pot; the water should come halfway up the sides of the dish.  Steam for 3 hours.  

Add water to replenish as necessary. (I just checked the pot every half hour...)  Remove the pudding, remove the lid, and invert it onto a plate.  Serve warm with warm custard.

 Custard Sauce
1/4 c. sugar
pinch of salt
1 T. cornstarch
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream (if you don't have cream, increase milk to 1 1/2 c.)
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Stir in the milk and cream and continue to stirring until the cornstarch dissolves.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is hot but not bubbling.  Reduce the heat to low and temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring 1/2 c. of the hot mixture into the yolks while whisking the yolks constantly.  Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan while stirring gently.  Turn up the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbling.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the custard through a sieve.  Add the vanilla and stir to combine.  

Serve the custard warm with the warm spotted dick.

This was so unbelievably delicious...and I really didn't think it would be.  When I was mixing up all those spices, then added the fruit I thought it would be just "okay".  But, man OH man!...you ladle a smidge of that custard sauce on top and BIGGITY BAM!...it totally transforms the depth of the pudding.  I want you to be aware, the custard doesn't taste like American vanilla pudding...think more like, Bavarian cream filling, but in sauce form....about the consistency of salad dressing.  Then you'll be there.  The English sure know how to set your mouth watering and make your tummy delirious!

1 comment:

  1. When I studied abroad in England, I don't think I ever tried pudding or custard (too distracted by the gin). But now I shall!