Spotted Dick… From a Can?


Pop Art Spotted Dick

The average person in the United States became familiar with the traditional British dessert Spotted Dick thanks to a trip that humor columnist Dave Barry took nearly two decades ago. He recounted his experience of ordering the dessert at a McDonald’s and now, fast forward to 2014, and the average American shopper can pick up a can of Spotted Dick from the imports aisle for about $6.

Eating it from the can without any custard may not be the most enjoyable thing on the planet, but hey – look on the bright side… it’s microwaveable!

Just What Is Spotted Dick?

Spotted Dick is a pudding that is traditionally made from mutton fat, or what is called suet. Today, however, butter or lard is often substituted into the recipe instead. Molasses and corn syrup help to create the sticky sweetness of the pudding, while currents or raisins help to create the spots. Without the fruit, you’d just be eating a Dick pudding, so any dried fruit – even dates – will help you create the spotted variety.

The creation of Spotted Dick as a dish goes back to the mid-19th century when steamed puddings began to be quite popular. A century earlier the pudding cloth had been invented and many savory puddings were created using that technology, but it took 100 years to discover on a national level that sweet puddings could be made with the same stuff. Go figure.

If you’ve got a can of Spotted Dick for yourself, you can steam the pudding inside the can if you want. Just boil some water, stick the can of pudding in it, and let it boil for about 30 minutes. The result? A slightly crunchy outside, a warm and gooey inside, and enough calories that you could’ve eaten two hamburgers at McDonald’s and lost weight in comparison.

Why Is It Called “Dick?”

Because calling the pudding “Spotted Richard” sounded too royal! Setting aside the jokes, no one can really pinpoint one specific reason why this pudding has this name. Some say that it is actually a German name, because “dick” in German means “thick or having a sticky consistency.” Some believe it is just a reference to pop culture from the times, similar to calling a private investigator a “dick.” Others believe it is just a slang word for pudding itself.

Whatever the case may be, when you can get your hands on a Spotted Dick and put some into your mouth, that sticky sweetness can be a memorable experience.

Want To Make Your Own Spotted Dick?

Ok guys – take out your marker… and write this quick recipe down if you want to try having your own Spotted Dick. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup citrus zest
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk

Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients. Fold over until smooth – don’t beat the mixture because if you do, your Spotted Dick will become quite dense. Put the mixture into a pudding basin, cover with foil or greaseproof paper, and steam for 90 minutes. This recipe makes 1 pudding.

What To Eat With Your Spotted Dick

There are a wide variety of items that one can enjoy with Spotted Dick, but the most common and traditional way is with custard. If you don’t prefer custard, a simple icing can be placed on top of the pudding and it can be eaten like a cake. Lemon syrup or a simple dusting of powdered sugar can also suffice.

If you’re steaming the can variety of Spotted Dick, be aware that the result from the can can turn out quite dry. Having some sort of sauce will help the experience immensely, even if it doesn’t really help the waistline. If you’re brave enough to microwave your Spotted Dick, let us know here in the comments section below how your experience was.

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