Apr 26

Spotted Dick Steamed Pudding With White Chocolate Butter Sauce

in British, Chocolate, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type

* Find out how you can help to save the life of my friend’s little boy, and be entered to win one of two great prizes. *


The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.  Suet is the hard but flaky fat found around the kidneys and loins in cows and sheep.  Although it is primarily used to make tallow, it is also used to make British puddings.  I was intrigued by suet, but ended up having an extremely busy month and was unable to even attempt finding a source for suet.  So for my British pudding experience I substituted unsalted butter for the suet in my recipe.

Spotted Dick drizzled with White Chocolate Butter Sauce

“Pudding” is one of a handful of food words that mean different things in American English than they do in British English.*  Growing up, pudding was a sweet custard-like dessert that came in many flavors, my personal favorite being chocolate (the richer the better).  While I was in undergraduate school, a British friend once told me how much she was looking forward to her mother’s Christmas pudding that she made every year.  My friend briefly explained that a pudding was one of several things—the dessert course, a baked or steamed sponge cake, or a savory dish like a savory suet pudding or Yorkshire Pudding.  Although I later had the opportunity to taste a variety of puddings while in the UK, one specific experience stands out in my mind.  Mr. Fuji and I were visiting his sister and her husband who were living in Reading, England at the time.  We went on a day trip and stopped in the little town of Bibury in the Cotswolds.

Bibury, Cotswolds, UK

We ate lunch at a beautiful old pub called The Catherine Wheel, that served a variety of traditional British favorites.  I remember the food being delicious, but only remember one course specifically.  For dessert I ordered Spotted Dick.  I have to admit that I ordered it for the sole reason of being able to say that I had eaten it.  Although the name Spotted Dick will definitely raise some eyebrows, the dish itself is absolutely wonderful.**  Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding with dried currants in it (thus the name “spotted”), commonly served with custard.

Digging into Spotted Dick with White Chocolate Butter Sauce

The texture is like a moist and heavy carrot cake.  The recipe I used makes one large pudding, but I decided to make 6 smaller single serving puddings in ramekins.  About 30 minutes before my puddings were finished steaming, I realized that I had completely forgotten about making a custard sauce, and so whipped up a quick white chocolate butter sauce.  The sauce ended up being a wonderful accompaniment to the puddings.

Warm Spotted Dick with White Chocolate Butter Sauce

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Spotted Dick

Adapted from the Daring Kitchen Recipe archives

Makes 6 servings

4 ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces breadcrumbs
3 ounces Caster sugar/ultrafine sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces dried currants
zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons cold milk

1. Butter a 1 liter (2 pint) pudding bowl (a deep glass or ceramic bowl).  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the breadcrumbs, sugar, butter, currants and lemon zest.  Stir in the egg and milk to produce a soft batter.

2. Transfer the batter into the buttered pudding mold (the mold should be two-thirds full).  Cover with greased parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Steam for 2.5 to 3 hours.

3. When the pudding is finished, remove the cover and let the pudding cool for a couple of minutes (it will shrink slightly).  Then cover the mold with a serving plate, hold it firmly and invert the mold.  Lift off the mold to leave the pudding on the plate.  Serve drizzled with white chocolate butter sauce.

White Chocolate Butter Sauce

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped into pieces
6 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons salted butter

Combine all the ingredients in a small heavy-bottom saucepan.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth.

* For a great discussion of the word “pudding” see the post “Pudding” from Separated By A Common Language.

** For a great discussion of the origins of the name Spotted Dick, see the article, A Pudding By Any Other Name (Regency Recipes, The Jane Austen Centre)

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Rachael they look absolutely wonderful! I have always been wary of this dish but yours look so light and fluffy!


Sue April 27, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Love your pudding! The currants and white chocolate butter sauce make a great combination.


Sara April 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

It’s okay if I lick the screen right? These look amazing woman! I also loved the pic of England. I used to travel there for work alot; loved it so much!


Nastassia (let me eat cake) April 27, 2010 at 5:14 pm

i have often heard of this fabled spotted dick hehe and i have to say while the name isn’t so appealing it sure does look tasty!


Winnie April 27, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I have to admit that I almost made the spotted dick just because of the name. It does look great, though, and your pics are lovely, as usual. The white chocolate sauce looks amazing too!


Paula - bell'alimento April 27, 2010 at 6:36 pm

You have me drooling & the next time I ever see “Spotted Dick” on the menu I’m going to order it ; )


Phoebe April 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Looks wonderful! My mom always made a steamed pudding with suet for Christmas. Love the pictures of England and the story to go along with them!


Deanna April 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm

This made me chuckle. My Mom was British and whenever this dish came up, we all giggled, her as well. There’s also Cockaleeky soup. (Not sure if that’s how it’s spelled).


Jayne April 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Lovely! Can you, though, have the recipe in cups/tsp etc? cos, I don’t have a scale. Sigh.. Sad. Wish to try this though!


Meeta April 28, 2010 at 1:02 am

looks simply awesome – i especially like the sauce here! and yeah i’ve eaten a spotted dick too ;o)


Tupper April 28, 2010 at 5:06 am

Giggle? I laughed out loud! Looks great, but Spotted Dick? I’m in stitches. I will share this with the co-workers to see if I can one of them to make it! Thanks for sharing!


Kathy April 28, 2010 at 6:23 am

In Australia we use ‘pudding’ to mean dessert. It can be anything from ice cream to cake or even a bread and butter pudding.

I always wondered where the word ‘purin’ came from in Japanese and now I’m guessing it came from the American English meaning (although a little more narrow in its actual meaning)

Yay! I learned something.

P.S I can’t believe you can’t buy suet in the supermarket over there. Even in Australia where we hardly ever use it, you can find boxes of the stuff in every supermarket. What do you make a plum pudding with if that’s the case?


Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

@Kathy, Yes, that’s one of the meanings my British friend gave me way back when! It’s amazing how word meanings differ across cultures, isn’t it? Plum pudding is not a dish I had ever heard of until my college years. Even with my British heritage, steamed puddings are not a common dish where I grew up. I know that in some parts of the US, people serve Christmas puddings during the holidays, but even those weren’t something that I was familiar with here on the West Coast. Suet may be a more common ingredient in other areas!


Jenny Flake April 28, 2010 at 7:50 am

Can this get anymore beautiful?! I love that you have traveled to such amazing places girl, totally jealous! Your recipes are works of art, love peeking inside your kitchen!


Maggy April 28, 2010 at 8:12 am

Ha! I lived in the UK for nearly 7 years with my British husband. This is a classic and a favorite – but the name always makes me giggle.


Michelle April 28, 2010 at 8:22 am

What a cute dessert and the White Chocolate Sauce sounds so good!


LilSis April 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

These look wonderful! The white chocolate butter sauce is the icing on the cake!


Cookin' Canuck April 28, 2010 at 9:27 am

What a gorgeous pub that is! Well done on the spotted dick – this is not the easiest dessert to put together.


Jen @ How To: Simplify April 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

Having spent a lot of time in England I know that this is definitely a classic! It looks so delicious!


Maria April 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

Your photos are fantastic! I love to travel and wish I could do more. I have been to England and hope to go back some day!


Sally April 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

Ah the classic spotted dick. As a true blue Brit I have eaten it since I was a kid – we often had it for school dinners…..and it can be sublime or it can be awful! I’ve never had it with anything but custard but you might have convinved me to try that sauce as it sounds YUM
I also am addicted to steak and kidney pudding – another suet based British classic – maybe you should try it!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 29, 2010 at 7:55 am

@Sally, I love steak and kidney pudding! I haven’t had it in ages though.


Tracy April 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

Yours looks great! Excellent work!


Amanda April 29, 2010 at 7:01 am

Hey-I’ve only ever seen spotted dick in a can. Really.

I have seen vegetable suet called for in a lot of recipes . . .I always assumed shortening would be the American equivalent of vegetable suet. So in your recipe could you have used lard/manteca as well?

Sorry. My inner scientist has been dominating my inner chef lately. :)


Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 29, 2010 at 7:55 am

@Amanda, Yes, lard/manteca and shortening are all viable options! I actually didn’t have enough lard on hand (I used it up making Cornish pasties), so I went with what was in the refrigerator! I think you should let out your inner scientist more often. I’d love to be able to say I had an “evil scientist” as a friend. ;)


sippitysup April 29, 2010 at 8:06 am

Ahh, the British idea of pudding is so gentile! You of course captured the whole experience with panache. Congrats on Top 9 and see what at camp. GREG


chadnani April 29, 2010 at 1:08 pm

That is defiantly a name to raise some eyebrows and catch attention.


Lauren April 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

That looks fantastic Rachael! I love your version of this challenge :).


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction April 30, 2010 at 5:38 am

Lovely! I contemplated trying a Spotted Dick recipe, but I was making my pudding when we had company coming over, and I couldn’t handle the inevitable comments about the name from my husband. :)


Denise @ There's a Newf in My Soup! May 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Rachael – I’m still wandering around checking out Spotted Dicks ;-) Beautiful photos and the sauce you whipped up sounds perfect! See you soon at Camp!


Juliana @ TwoLazyGourmets December 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I just revived an old holiday favorite of mine, a steamed persimmon pudding, which has piqued my interest about this type of dessert. I thought it was a pretty traditional recipe, but it doesn’t call for suet or even butter. It’s still very moist, though. I’m curious about your spotted dick recipe — and making small individual servings is a great idea.


Ralph Drew March 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

I had to use a lot more milk to get this to anything resembles a soft batter. I cooked it in a medium size serving bowl because I didn’t have anything small to use. Turned out looking pretty nice.


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