Quest for Dick (Spotted) 2


I got Dick, babies.


Having failed to find any of the suet necessary to make the British dessert Spotted Dick, I settled for a surrogate. The third butcher I talked to told me that he had beef tallow for sale that he usually uses to make black pudding. I bought half a kilogram of the waxy yellow stuff and took it home triumphantly. Self-raising flour is unknown in Sweden, but Google made it easy to find the proportions of flour, baking soda and salt. Mixing the dough was also easy, and I have some experience with steaming Chinese dishes, so I took Dick through that unscathed.



The pudding grew to alarming proportions as the baking soda did its thing. Twice during two hours of steaming I had to fill more hot water into the pan. I also made custard. When the pudding was done, I found it crumbly yet greasy and quite heavy. The colour is a warm light brown with raisins forming dark spots. The aroma is lemony sweet with a hint of savour from the beef tallow. A lovely dessert and enormously filling, sits like a bowling ball in your belly. You really don’t need dinner before eating stuff like this. (My wife, though, believes that the mouthful she tried was probably the nastiest thing she’s ever eaten.)



I only used about a third of the tallow, so there is likely to be more Victorian pudding experimentation here in weeks to come.

Hmm… Wonder how many experience points you get for making Spotted Dick. It takes skill to pull one’s pudding like that. I mean, pull it out of the steamer.

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  1. #1 Paddy
    March 17, 2007

    Nice dick! And you CAN get self-raising flour in – you guessed it – The English Shop, along with vegemite and the wonderful all-day-breakfast in a tin.

  2. #2 Martin R
    March 17, 2007

    I’d be happy to make some Spotted Dick with extra vegemite for you if you get homesick some time. I mean, then you’ll be busy being just sick, instead.

    All-day-breakfast in a tin is apparently “baked beans, bacon, 2 pork sausages, 3 button mushrooms and 2 ?pork and egg nuggets with biscuit”. Sounds solid!

  3. #3 Jennifer Ouellette
    March 17, 2007

    I’m impressed at your resourcefulness and ability to adapt the recipe… could have been a culinary disaster, but instead it looks delicious! I love puddings…

  4. #4 Markk
    March 17, 2007

    Hey, Now I can put a picture along with the name in all those references in Patrick O’Brien novels. Spotted Dick indeed!

  5. #5 Martin R
    March 17, 2007

    Patrick O’Brien, never heard of him. Gay erotica, I suppose?

  6. #6 RedMolly
    March 17, 2007

    Er… lucky you? Nice job on the Dick custard; glad you enjoyed your experiment in culinarity. (And my heartfelt sympathy to your long-suffering wife.)

    Also, I tagged you with a bookish blogmeme, if you want to play.

  7. #7 Martin R
    March 17, 2007

    My wife is the restaurant guest from Hell. She’s often aggressively disappointed before the food has even been served. (-;

  8. #8 Christina
    March 17, 2007

    Hmmm, I’m glad you posted that… The local butcher has a section full of English foods and treats right by the cashier. As I have stood in line rith there several times, I have often wondered what the hell Spotted Dick might be, and got as far as looking the recipe up on line. Now I can see that it’d most likely be something I’d like, but chances are, that’d apply to the home made variety but NOT the canned variety!

  9. #9 Bob O'H
    March 18, 2007

    It’s dishes such as these that explain our glorious military history. If we wanted to move our troops around quickly, the chefs were asked to make a big batch, and then they spread it on the countryside, and used it as a road.

    If you want a real delight, try making a Christmas pudding. You should start it in about September, and then leave it to lurk in a dark cupboard for a bit. It doesn’t so much mature as evolve.


  10. #10 Carl
    March 18, 2007

    Oh my god, I’ve got loads of unused suet in my fridge. I was going to make some real steak and kidney pie, which takes 6 hours in the oven to cook. But I might as well go for a nice dick.

    How did you make the custard? As a trained chef, I think there’s too much work doing a “real” custard, considering results. What’s your method?

  11. #11 Carl
    March 18, 2007

    Please give the recipe for good Dick..

  12. #12 windy
    March 18, 2007

    It’s dishes such as these that explain our glorious military history. If we wanted to move our troops around quickly, the chefs were asked to make a big batch, and then they spread it on the countryside, and used it as a road.

    The Spotted Dick, the custard, or both?

  13. #13 Martin R
    March 19, 2007

    Christmas pudding is a scary thing.

    Bob, I’ve read that Spotted Dick was more often used to build fortifications and harbour walls, at least in the Napoleonic era.

    Carl, I must confess I made the custard from prefab powder, milk and cream. The Dick recipe I used was the top one on Googling “spotted dick recipe”: here.

  14. #14 Johan Anglemark
    March 20, 2007

    You’ve never read Patrick O’Brian? Really? Lucky you, all those wonderful books in front of you. They’re like the best bits of Hornblower, but written by Jane Austen.

  15. #15 Martin R
    March 20, 2007

    That’s high praise! The Forodrim’s Book Guild is full of people who love Austen and Hornblower.

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