Spotted Dick, though it sounds like some of the spam email I get, or a hilarious, albeit 1st-grade-potty-mouth kind of joke, is actually a boiled or steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit, usually currants or raisins that are seen on the surface as little spots.
I had a interesting time researching this recipe. I found a wide variety in the recipes, lots of tongue-in-cheek references and innuendo, and of course, lots of speculation about how it got its name.
According to The Straight Dope "dick" is derived from "pudding", like so...
My sources all pretty much agree with the derivation, without being specific how. However, I can see "pudding" become "puddink" becoming "puddick" and then just "dick."
The earliest recipes for spotted dick are from 1847. Come on, couldn't it just be a little old-time ribald humor? A little more history...
The word "dick" has appeared in any number of strange places. Around the 1840s, "dick" was used to mean a type of hard cheese; when treacle sauce was added, it became "treacle dick", and finally when currants or raisins were added (looking like little spots), the "spotted dick" was born.
Now, I hate to point out the obvious, but mightn't the fact that it was traditionally a rolled-up, sausage kind of shape and about 6 inches long have something to do with it? Why try to put a different face on it. Or rather ... well, you know what I mean.
I couldn't find any pictures of the sausage-shaped kind. All the pictures I found from recent recipes look like a regular upside-down bowl shaped pudding, like this photo here.
I don't get it. Maybe they're trying to avoid the innuendo. This dish is also sometimes called Spotted Dog, again, probably trying to keep the chuckles and blushes to a minimum. Too bad, really. I guess I have an infantile sense of humor but I find the whole thing very funny.
Apparently the Brits tried to change the name from Spotted Dick to Spotted Richard some years ago. When sales of the pudding dropped off, one supermarket chain conducted a survey. Results:
While 98 per cent of male respondents listed spotted dick as among their favourite desserts, 78 per cent admitted its name made them feel uncomfortable.
Especially when having to order from a female server. I guess old traditions are hard to beat, though, and it was later decided to change the name back. Spotted Dick it was, and Spotted Dick it shall be.
Oh you silly Brits. Step up to the plate. State your preference! Say it loud and proud, "I want a Spotted Dick! And be quick about it!"
There are lots of variations in the recipes I found online. This recipe sounds very authentic to the original, and very basic: just flour, suet, water and dried fruit. Sounds less like a pudding, more like a roll. Unless I'm missing something, which is entirely possible. It's hard to tell without pictures. I wish they would include some photos. When I get around to actually making this thing, I'll take some pictures and insert them here.
The recipe I chose to include here, from the UKTV Food website is yer standard pud-dick, although definitely with an exotic flair.
Pineapple Spotted Dick with Toffee Sauce
300g plain flour
1.5 tsp Baking powder
150g shredded suet
1 orange, grated zest
For the custard
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod, split
For the toffee sauce
100g soft dark sugar
100g golden syrup
100ml double cream
- Generously grease a pudding basin.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, suet, sugar, currants and orange zest. Fold in the milk and pineapple.
- Transfer the mixture into the buttered bowl and cover with pleated greaseproof paper, securing it under the rim with string to allow room for the pudding to expand.
- Place the pudding in a pan of simmering water – the water should come just below bowls’s rim. Steam the pudding for 1 hour. While the pudding is cooking, make the custard.
- For the custard, beat together the yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Strain the hot milk onto the beaten eggs and whisk together.
- Return the custard to the saucepan. Cook over a very low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens - the custard should lightly coat the back of a spoon.
- To make the toffee sauce, place the sugar, butter and golden syrup in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
- Serve the pudding in slices, and accompany with the warm custard and toffee sauce
It sure sounds delicious. But it also sounds like a LOT of work. You know, I may just cheat and get some Spotted Dick in a Can.