Pastry Week · Season 2

The Infamous Spotted Dick

Americans, of course, snicker at the name, but I can’t laugh too loudly since my Dad’s name is Dick.  Then I just imagine him with a bad rash or something…maybe I’ll change its name to Bespeckled Richard.

Getting ready for this recipe has been quite the ordeal.  Besides finding the right recipe–which I looked at several including this roly poly, this “ultimate” roly poly, pudding bowl style spotted dick, and this Daring Gourmet pudding molded dick.  This led to the debate over the cooking container–do I order a special pudding mold?  Haunt the second hand stores for the right shaped bowl or *maybe* find a steaming pudding mold by chance?  (I didn’t, even though I looked).  I think that in the end, I will have to go straight for a muslin-wrapped, steamed roly-poly, and follow Christine’s tried-and-true Spotted Dick with a Kick recipe.  This will require figuring out how to steam the dick.

Then, lastly, I had to find SUET.  In Season 2, Episode 7, Mary Berry herself acknowledges that using suet is rather old-fashioned, and in the US, let me tell ya, it’s almost unheard of. I had to do a little research to find out where I might acquire the stuff…they all said you have to get it from the butcher at your local shop.

A few days ago, I did just that–I went to the butcher (really late in the day; probably around 8 pm) and asked if they had any suet, and the young man there said, “You want what?”  That’s never a good sign from a butcher.  I explained that it’s the fat around the kidneys and loins of the cow or sheep, and, finally realizing what I was asking for, he said that I’d have to come in the next day to talk to Kelly; he’s the guy who knows.  They also don’t get a lot of it, so I’d have to ask to have it set aside specifically.  I easily remember his name because it’s the same as my husband, but I have also tried to make a point to learn the names of people who work in places I visit regularly.  Kim, Steven, Sandy, Doug…all people who work at the store, and when I see them I say hi.  I might as well; I’m in there at least 4 days a week; we’re always out of something.  I just went in earlier today for dinner stuff and lemons for this recipe. Then this evening, the kid says he really wants microwave popcorn and we’re out of lunch snacks.  Yesterday it was milk.

So I went into the store the next morning, around 9:30, and I say, “Hey, Kelly!  Do you have any suet?”  Kelly the butcher always calls me “kiddo”, which is ironic since I’m betting he and I are about the same age.  It’s not annoying, exactly, but odd.  Meh.  Whatever.  Anyway he says, “Suet?  You mean the fat on the loin?  What for?”  I briefly explain that I’m making a British bready dessert and it calls for suet instead of shortening or whatever.  He says that there isn’t much, just a few ounces, but I say, “That’s perfect.  I only need about 4 oz for this recipe.”  He says, “I have a loin here that I can cut up really quick and give you the suet from it.  Give me 10 minutes?”  Wandering around the store ensues…when I return, he’s got it all wrapped up for me in the styrofoam package with “No charge” written across the top.  AWWWWW!  I love my butcher!!

(And that, my friends, is why you should learn people’s names.)

(Although, honestly, it’s probably something they just pitch in the garbage anyway.)

SO…a couple days later, I grab the suet out of the fridge and toss it into the freezer.  After freezing for a few hours, I put it into the blender and blitz it into crumbles, then put into a plastic container and back into the freezer.  I finally get around to weighing it–there’s about 8 oz there.  PERFECT!  Now when I have time (hopefully tomorrow after the eye doctor), I can make the pudding.  I’d like to make ice cream, too, but maybe I’m pushing it with the suet pud.  I’ll pick up some vanilla ice cream at the store…and some ice cream bars for the boy.  And microwave popcorn.

The show gives some good construction tips:

Liquid:  too much and it’s not easy to handle; too little and it’ll be brittle.  *  Crispy exterior and inside nice & soft.  No stodgy suet.  *  Vegetarian option:  palm oil and rice flour.  *  Replace currants with other berries–barberries, cranberries, etc.  *  Add dried apple to absorb some of the liquid as it steams.  *  Butter the greaseproof paper before wrapping, then wrap in 2 layers of muslin.

Following Christine’s recipe, I weighed out the all the ingredients.  I used 100 g currants and about 100 g golden raisins for the filling.

The suet had a pinkish hue.  I’m not sure if there was still bits of meat in it…possibly.

Added the milk into the flour and suet mix…

…and made the dough.

I squashed it into a rectangle and put about half the fruit in,

then folded it in half and rolled it out again to another rectangle,

then put the rest of the fruit on.

Then rolled it into a log using my dough scraper (helps to roll as well as get the dough off the counter easily…I always seem to under-flour the surface).

I buttered the parchment paper and wrapped it in that…

Then wrapped that in the muslin.

I used the turkey pan with the roast rack (later discovered that the slats were too far apart…not supportive enough to prevent giant divots in the roll).  Poured enough water into the pan that it nearly touched the bottom of the roll, and set it to a simmer, which was to be left to steam for 1:45.

I unwrapped it and, other than the divots, it looked pretty good.  I cut it into slices and had some lovely swirls in it with fruit bespeckled through.

Unfortunately, it tasted pretty bad…or at least, I don’t like it.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like, but it’s kinda gross.  It needs something…ice cream, maybe?

Next up:  choux pastry nuns.  Maybe I’ll send them to the Catholic school next week.  Punish the other kids with them.

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