Spotted Dick with traditional custard

  • Anna Louise Batchelor

Anna Louise Batchelor
Speciality Winner 2009

Spotted Dick with traditional custard

Since entering the Golden Spurtle in 2008 there has been one question that friends have asked me repeatedly; “what can I do with left over Porridge?” when looking for inspiration I read about traditional puddings. Old fashioned puddings were a way of filling hungry stomachs, particularly those of children, with warm stodgy food. The basis of a pudding would be leftovers; stale breadcrumbs or old dough. Spotted Dick is also known as Spotted Dog. Dog being an old word for dough, which would have been the basis for the pudding. The ‘waste not want not’ attitude of the pudding also extended to the fat used within it; suet, the leftover fat from beef or mutton.

Steamed puddings are not so popular today which is a shame considering that 1/3 of all the food we buy ends up being thrown away. I have listed the ingredients below for you to have a go next time you have left over Porridge. I have written it up precisely as I prepared the dish for the competition, but you can substitute many of the ingredients with what you have in your cupboards. However, when it comes to suet I would recommend that you are very careful where you obtain this from. I am lucky enough to live close to Sheepdrove Organic Farm where they rear their animals with good husbandry practices. The farm butcher saved the suet for me from a fully traceable animal so I could be 100% confident of its source.

Enjoy your pudding and serve with a generous serving of custard.


Oatmeal:1 cup of course oatmeal, 2 cups of water, 1 generous table spoon of oat bran, ½ teaspoon of Halen Mon Vanilla salt

Spotted Dick mixture: 250g of mixed dried fruit; sultanas, currents, raisins, 1 organic egg, 40g of carefully sourced minced suet*
1 teaspoon of ginger powder, Generous helping of freshly ground nutmeg, Zest of one unwaxed organic orange**,
3 tablespoons of Demerara sugar, ½ a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, Traditional custard , 1 ½ pints of organic milk,
2 heaped tablespoons of corn flour, 1 generous teaspoon of barley malt extract, 2 teaspoons of bourbon vanilla extract

Night before
· Pre-soak the oatmeal in water with the oat bran over night.
· The custard is also made the night before and brought to temperature when the spotted dicks are cooked.
· Pour 1 pint of milk into a heavy bottomed steel saucepan and heat until the milk begins to steam.
· Mix the remaining ½ pint of milk in the measuring jug with two heaped tablespoons of corn flour.
· Whisk quickly with a metal fork to break up the corn flour and prevent lumps from forming.
· Remove steaming milk from the heat and quickly pour in the corn flour-milk mix, stirring constantly.
· Return pan to a very low heat and stir slowly and constantly for 15 minuets.
· Stir in the barley malt extract thoroughly and evenly.
· Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
· Return to a low heat and with a whisk stir thoroughly.
· When the custard is thick and has a creamy consistency remove from the heat and rest for one minute.
· Then stir in two teaspoons of bourbon vanilla extract.
· Cool for a few minutes to let the vanilla infuse and then pour into an air tight container.
· When the container is cool enough place in the fridge.

On the day
· Bring the oatmeal to boil in a Porringer, then reduce heat and stir in the vanilla salt.
· Stir constantly with a Spurtle for 10 minuets until cooked.
· In a bowl combine all of the Spotted Dick mixture.
· Stir in the cooked oatmeal.
· Spoon the mixture into 3 suet greased mini pudding basins leaving at least a 2cm space at the top for the puddings to rise.
· Place pudding basins into a microwave and cover with a plate.
· Cook on full power for 3 minutes and then turn the bowls.
· Cook for a further 3 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending upon your microwave. It is important that the pudding is piping hot throughout the whole pudding.
· Rest the puddings for 2 minutes.
· Then with a thin flexible knife trim any crust off the sides of the pudding basins.
· With the knife carefully and slowly release the puddings from the basin and turn out onto a tea plate.
· Pour the chilled custard into the heavy bottomed steel saucepan.
· Place over a medium heat and whisk quickly until piping hot.
· Pour into the glass measuring jug.
· With fast pours, criss-cross the custard across the puddings giving a generous coating.
· Pour the remaining custard into a small teapot and serve with the puddings to allow recipients to add extra, to taste.
Enjoy your pudding and serve with a generous serving of custard!

*Preferably from an organic butcher.
**Make sure this is an unwaxed orange, preferably organic. As you are eating the peel of the fruit it is important to know that it has not been treated with pesticides.