Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick is like a time travel machine in food form, designed to send you right back to your nursery days. A glorious traditional suet pudding studded with currants, mixed peel and spices, designed to warm you from the inside out.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

This week has not been one of my favourites. The whole house has been suffering with the most horrendous cold. So far, I’ve been housebound for nearly seven days and I’ve got severe cabin fever. As the outside world looks like a treacherous winter wonderland with snow blizzards lashing at our windows I can’t believe I am longing to be outside. Weather like this in London just doesn’t happen, it’s been snowing for almost three days straight and I’m so keen to wrap up in multi layers of knitwear, plonk Cole in his snowsuit, grab Billy Buddy’s lead and head to Parkland Walk which is the disused railway walk right by our house and always looks so beautiful in this snow capped weather.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

But instead I’m lying down on the bed watching the snow fall through the window, when I’m not consumed by a major coughing jag which seems to rip my body in half (The baby seriously does not like it when I cough and has been getting his own back by zapping me with searing Braxton Hicks contractions). I’ve also been watching an obscene amount of Paw Patrol on the sofa with Cole who is suffering with this cold just as badly, minus the pregnancy pains but plus a sky-high fever which I’m constantly battling to manage 24/7. Thank goodness for my mum who was able to come up for a few days to lend a hand to our fallen household.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

So I’m basically being a miserable so-and-so and to top it all off I got the unenviable news from my midwife at the beginning of the week that the baby is growing at an unprecedented rate and as such they are testing me for gestational diabetes. To counteract this ungracious news I have had to swear myself off sugar until I get the all clear. Giving up sugar is no fun at the best of times, giving up sugar when you are exhausted from spending all night long comforting a mewling toddler and 8 months pregnant is even worse. Coupled with the reality that playing with sugar is my job so I’m having to rethink a few recipes when my brain is like soup. Plus there’s the fact that goddammit I just want a Galaxy Ripple but having to make do with an oatcake. It’s really not the same. So not only am I ill, heavy with baby, tired and looking after a sick toddler but even sugar has forsaken me. I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself, can you tell?

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

I am hoping that the gestational diabetes test is negative but I have a feeling that I won’t get the results until the baby is pretty much here anyway so I’m looking at a sugar-free existence for the rest of the pregnancy. Luckily I was getting ahead of myself for a few of these posts and this indulgently delicious Gluten-Free Spotted Dick was a masterpiece from a couple of weeks back.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Do you know about Spotted Dick? Have you guffawed at its absurd name – gosh those British fools really know how to name wrestle with innuendo. The bemusing moniker is really an ancient term meaning spotted dough, not nearly as memorable I think you’ll find. The spotted part refers to the currants which are dotted throughout the pudding, along with mixed peel and spices. It’s a much easier pudding to make then you think as the dough quickly comes together and then is wrapped in a double layer of muslin and foil and boiled for a couple of hours.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick is a really traditional British ‘nursery’ pudding. Basically one of those charming relics of childhood which is more often found these days in staid British restaurants and gentleman’s clubs. Most of us though know of it from school dinners, hence the term ‘nursery pudding.’ It has a horrid reputation as a great stodge of a pudding but really it doesn’t have to be. It’s tremendously comforting, a perfect accompaniment to Snow Day and this gluten-free version is especially heart-warming. It’s traditionally made with suet but I find by using fresh beef suet (which you should ask your butcher for) instead of the shop bought stuff really lightens the finished result. The pudding must really be eaten steaming hot with copious amounts of custard. I wouldn’t even bother advocating making your own custard here as Bird’s Custard will really seal the nostalgia deal.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

I have to say I can’t wait to get better, cast off the aspersions of gestational diabetes and fall headlong back into a great big bowl of Spotted Dick and custard. It’s what’s keeping me going.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Spotted Dick
Spotted Dick is a glorious traditional suet pudding studded with currants, mixed peel and spices, designed to warm you from the inside out.
Gluten-Free Spotted Dick
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 125 g currants
  • 3 tablespoons rum or whisky or brandy
  • 140 g sweet rice flour
  • 120 g oat flour
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 180 g fresh beef suet
  • 125 g soft brown sugar
  • 40 g mixed peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 225-250 ml whole milk
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 125 g currants
  • 3 tablespoons rum or whisky or brandy
  • 140 g sweet rice flour
  • 120 g oat flour
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 180 g fresh beef suet
  • 125 g soft brown sugar
  • 40 g mixed peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 225-250 ml whole milk
Gluten-Free Spotted Dick
Instructions
  1. First place the currants in a small bowl and spoon over the rum, leaving them to soak for at least an hour.
  2. Sift the flours, baking powder and sea salt into a large bowl.
  3. Then stir in the suet, sugar, soaked currants (without the excess liquid), mixed peel and spices.
  4. Pour in just enough milk to make soft dough, mixing together with your hands.
  5. Shape the dough into a thick log and loosely wrap in muslin or cheesecloth, securing the ends with string.
  6. Then wrap in foil.
  7. Place the Spotted Dick in a large saucepan, pour boiling water all around the spotted dick until it has submerged and bring up to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, put the lid on and leave to cook for two hours.
  8. Remove the Spotted Dick carefully from the water and serve immediately with lashings of custard.

Blood Orange Pond Pudding

Blood Orange Pond Pudding

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

So she’s not a looker, it’s true.  However, what she lacks in beauty she makes up for in an abundance of unadulterated saucy pleasure.  She’s one of those gals who will give you a cheeky wink from across the room and you know that something wicked this way comes.

Suet Pastry

Puddings with a suet crust have fallen out of favour in recent times which is a travesty.  Not only is it a revelation if you are only used to sponge puddings to lap up your Sunday Roasts but the preparation is a cinch, the suet crust so easy to handle and difficult to bugger up if you are a novice. You can pull it together in mere minutes, tie a quick foil lid on the top and then leave it steaming merrily in a big pot at the back of your hob whilst you get on with the roast beef and Yorkshire puds.

Blood Orange Pond Pudding3 Blood Orange Pond Pudding4

Traditionally the Pond Pudding is made with a whole lemon in the centre which gives a sharp contrast to the sticky butter filling and indulgent suet.  However, I have yet to grow tired of my blood oranges this season and by lowering the sugar scale this citrus fruit allows a glorious tang to cut through the richness instead.  This is not a fly by night whispy dessert and those of a fragile disposition should look away now.  This classic English pudding takes no prisoners, and trumpets tradition in every moreish mouthful. It virtually transports you back in time to the 17th century when Hannah Woolley first wrote about it in The Queen-like Closet.

Blood Orange Pond Pudding5

A little goes a long way and please douse this bewitching maiden with copious amounts of thick custard for full effect.  Or, if you want to tone down the richness a downpour of double cream can let you off the hook.

Blood Orange Pond Pudding1

Blood Orange Pond Pudding
Adapted from Jane Grigson’s Sussex Pond Pudding from ‘English Food’

250g self-raising flour
125g shredded beef suet
A pinch of salt
75ml water
80ml milk
1 blood orange
150g unsalted butter
150g light brown caster sugar

  1. In a large bowl mix together the self-raising flour and beef suet and a pinch of salt.
  2. Stir the water and milk together and add to the flour and suet. Bring it all together into a smooth dough, add more liquid if it’s too dry.
  3. Roll into a circle, large enough to cover the inside of a 1 litre pudding bowl. Cut out ¼ of the circle and reserve for the top of the pudding.
  4. Butter the inside of the pudding bowl liberally, then take your large section of suet dough and place around the inside of the bowl, bring the cut sides together so there are no gaps.
  5. Sprinkle half of the sugar and drop half of the butter into the bottom of the pudding. Prick holes in the orange with a skewer then place the orange on top. Add the rest of the sugar and butter around and on top of the orange.
  6. Roll out the remaining ¼ of the suet dough into a circle, then place on top of the pudding to encase the orange, butter and sugar, pinching it together with the sides tightly.
  7. Make a lid for the pudding bowl by cutting out a piece of foil and a piece of greaseproof paper into circles a couple of inches larger than the top of the pudding bowl. Place the foil on top of the greaseproof paper then create a fold in the two layers by folding the middle of the two back in on themselves by a couple of centimetres so there is room for them to expand during the steam if necessary. Place the layers on top of the pudding bowl, greaseproof paper down, and fold down the bowl securing in place with string. Cut away the excess paper.
  8. Place the bowl in a steamer or in a large cooking pot on top of a trivet so that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan (use a folded up tea towel if that’s all you have). Pour in water so that it reaches halfway up the bowl, do not let it touch the foil or greaseproof paper otherwise the water will travel inside the pudding and make it soggy.
  9. Put the lid on the cooking pot and steam the pudding for 3½ hours.
  10. Remove the pudding bowl carefully from the cooking pot, remove the foil and paper lid and slide a pallet knife around the pudding to separate from the bowl. Place a plate on top of the pudding bowl and carefully turn upside down. Lift up the pudding bowl and the pudding should remain magnificently on the plate ready to serve.