Quest for Dick (Spotted) 1

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Spotted Dick is a traditional British dessert. I must have it.

More exactly, I must make it. And to that end, I must find suet. I was twice thwarted in this on my lunch hour as I asked at reputable Stockholm butcher’s counters. Neither had it, one didn’t even know what it was, both referred me to each other.

Suet is hard tallowy tissue that clusters around the kidneys of mammals. Indeed, the Swedish word for it, njurtalg, means “kidney tallow”. Victorian Britons used it as shortening in puddings, most famously in Christmas pudding.

Spotted Dick is a steamed, massive, doughy thing tasting of lemon and raisins, and you eat it with custard. It must be mine. My quest shall go on.

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Comments

  1. #1 paddy
    March 13, 2007

    Try the English Shop in Söderhallarna at Medborgarplatsen – they may have it, or else they might know where to get it.

  2. #2 Martin R
    March 13, 2007

    Thank you, I will!

  3. #3 Johan Anglemark
    March 13, 2007

    I’ve eaten Spotted Dick once and I loved it. Yum.

  4. #4 Martin R
    March 13, 2007

    That clinches it. “Eat Dick: Johan Anglemark Says ‘Yum!’”.

  5. #5 RedMolly
    March 13, 2007

    Is that second pic a photo of suet?

    *shudder*

  6. #6 Jamie
    March 13, 2007

    You know…the only place i’ve EVER seen Suet here in teh states is at wild bird shops… They use it as a binder for seed thingies, and they also use it as a high fat feed supplement by itself in the wintertime..

    I’m not sure that would really help you, but it’s worth a shot!

    Good luck on your quest for Dick!!

  7. #7 sharon
    March 13, 2007

    I haven’t had spotted dick for years. Mmm, that’s bringing back memories. Suet puddings with custard are fantastic. Jam roly poly, yum yum.

  8. #8 Martin R
    March 13, 2007

    Molly, that is indeed a big fat wad of suet.

    Jamie, in Sweden you can buy these brownish balls of tallow and birdseed in the winters. I wouldn’t want to melt the tallow out of one of those to get Dick.

    This afternoon I tried a third butcher, and although he couldnt get me real suet, he did have beef tallow around for making black pudding. So I bought a pound and will shortly be posting an update on my quest. Or is a quest for suet a quet?

  9. #9 Martin R
    March 13, 2007

    Sharon, roly poly is just a vague rumour to me. Gotta check it up!

  10. #10 Lycra
    March 14, 2007

    Further to sharon’s comment. Jam roly-poly appears as a nomination on the Icons site (http://www.icons.org.uk), but not Spotted Dick – a nomination is required there I think!

  11. #11 sharon
    March 15, 2007

    Jam roly poly. You can use any kind of jam, really.

    And this is without even starting on the savoury uses of suet. Beef stew and dumplings… Cobblers…

  12. #12 Martin R
    March 15, 2007

    Mmm-hmm! I am, BTW, planning to make steak and Yorkshire pudding as well.

  13. #13 Bob O'H
    March 18, 2007

    Yorkshire pud advice: make a plate-sized one, with onion gravy washing around inside. And eat it on August 1st.

    Bob

  14. #14 Ted King
    October 12, 2009

    Re : Yorkshire Pudding
    This dish is usually paired with roast beef or with small pork sausages (Toad-in-the-Hole). The key to a spectacular Yorkie is thermal shock.

    Make your batter two or more hours ahead and then put it in the refrigerator to get really cold. Warm your un-greased pan (Pyrex or ceramic souffle’) in the oven. Pull out the chilled batter and give it a thorough beating to add air. Grease your pan with some of the juices from the roast beef, pour in your batter, and bake.

    Yes, making a Yorkie is a team sport requiring two or three people and exquisite timing. The above steps are the ones used by my mother who made Yorkies as poofy as a well made souffle’.

    P.S. In my family stewed apples were a typical side dish served with Toad-in-the-Hole ( http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/classic_english_toad-in-the-hole/ ). Also, a cast iron pan with low partitions can make cutting a Toad into wedges easier. I did a Google search and found a no-cutting, muffin approach ( http://britishfood.about.com/od/regionalenglishrecipes/r/toadinhole.htm ). Thanks for the posts – #1 and #2 ( http://scienceblogs.com/aardvarchaeology/2007/03/quest_for_dick_spotted_2.php ).