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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15 thoughts on “Quest for Dick (Spotted) 2

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


  4. 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!


  5. 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.



  6. 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?


  7. 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?


  8. 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.


  9. 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.


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