My grandmother is a bit of an Anglophile. This one time, she kept talking about spotted dick. (I’m going to skip the obvious and tired VD jokes.) So I decided I’d buy some and surprise her. At the time, I worked in a grocery store. Sometimes there would be a few cans of Heinz’s spotted dick between the kosher and the canned Mexican stuff. I called the store to make sure it was in stock before I headed over there.
I knew the girl who answered the phone, but she didn’t recognize my voice, so I didn’t reveal myself. I asked if they had any spotted dick. She moved the phone away from her mouth without covering the mouthpiece and burst out laughing. It was one of those classy places with good service, if you can’t tell. She asked everyone behind the counter. They all laughed. She got back on the line and informed me they did not sell spotted dick.
I ended up making one. Spotted dick is a steamed suet pudding typically studded with currants or raisins and served with crème anglaise. I made this orange and cranberry one and served it with orange zabaglione. I said it before, but I really suggest learning a basic zabaglione recipe and keeping it in your back pocket.
For the spotted dick:
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
5 oz beef suet, pulsed in the food processor until it’s just a bunch of little pellet guys
9 oz all purpose flour, sifted
4 oz dried cranberries
4 oz granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
zest from one pretty big orange
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
zest of half a pretty big orange
You will need a pot large enough to hold whatever you put the spotted dick in, a ceramic baking dish or ramekins, parchment paper, kitchen twine, something to rest the spotted dick on and a double boiler set up.
Grease the baking dish or ramekins.
I used an upside-down one cup measuring cup to keep the spotted dick off the bottom of the pot.
Put whatever you’re using to keep the the spotted dick up in the pot, add enough water to come half way up the sides of the baking dish or ramekins and bring to a boil.
Combine the flour, suet, baking powder, sugar and cranberries. Mix the cream, milk, vanilla, juice and zest.
Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until you have a thick batter. Pour batter into greased baking dish or ramekins.
Cover the dish with enough parchment paper to hang over the sides. Use kitchen twine to secure the parchment paper.
Place the pudding in the pot and make sure not to get any water in it. Cover the pot and steam until cooked through and firm to the touch. A large pudding will take between one and two hours.
Add boiling water to the pot as the water level drops.
When it’s done, give it a few minutes to cool, then turn it out onto a serving plate.
While the spotted dick is cooling, set up a double boiler by putting a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bowl.
Put all of your zabaglione ingredients into the bowl and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick and foamy.
Serve the spotted dick warm with a little of the warm zabaglione on top. I suggest browning slices in some butter on a griddle or frying pan—gives a nice crunchy crust and buttery flavor to it.
If you want to serve this with crème anglaise, use my method here. Just stop before you get to the part where you turn it into a semifreddo.
This is a rich, filling dessert, perfect for the winter. The addition of a citrus topping lightens it up enough to make it enjoyable in the summer.