Its holiday time again and it is the season and time of year to enjoy the delightful gastronomic pleasures guilt-free, more or less. Just the thought of those old fashioned goodies your grandma and mom used to make that drive you right into and gustatory orgasm of delight. That’s not to mention the warmth and comfort that the memory of eating that pleasurable food brings like warm, creamy freshly made pumpkin pie or maybe you had a wonderfully bronzed roasted goose on the table? How about heavenly green bean casserole with just a bit of cheddar cheese and crisp bacon added? Or one can’t forget the savory collard greens and black-eyed peas? What about the memories of rich rum-spiked eggnog served with a slight sprinkling of eggnog served in a crystal cup? Oh and the crisp, golden, piping hot latkes served with apple sauce and sour cream are so welcoming. How about some well-brandied Figgie Pudding or rum-imbibed fruit cake? Ah but this time I have a suggestion: a recipe for a steamed pudding that is really popular across the briny pond in Great Britain. It a great dessert anytime or year and some find it to be a good bedtime snack.
Okay, it isn’t a low calorie dessert by any means but you can’t beat it served dripping with a luscious custard cream sauce. So forget the calories for now and just resign yourself to going through the roof when those taste buds get a wallop of pure pleasure. You will feel satiated after one serving and will want nothing more than to drift off into a state of gustatory bliss. You will savor every luscious little drop you swallow. The cake, or as they call it in England pudding, is a dough made from suet, flour, milk and, of course, raisins. The recipe that I have uses butter instead of suet is still full of fat and calories but will be a holiday treat or a gratifying morsel any time of year. If you can look past its name, Spotted Dick, you will have eight ample servings to please your guests.
- 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons superfine sugar (but regular sugar can be substituted).
- 4 large beaten eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups self-rising flour (it must be self-rising)
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup currants or raisins
- Custard Sauce (recipe follows)
- Butter and lightly dust with flour a Pyrex bowl or eight ramekins.
- Trace and cut out either eight circles of parchment paper to fit ramekins or one large piece to fit Pyrex bowl. These will be used to cover the dough as they steam so that they are not moistened but the rising drops of sweat as the hot steam rises in the bath as it cooks.
- Using a double boiler fitted with a six quart stock pot fitted with a round cooling rack so that the one inch of water you need to steam the cakes can be added to the pot while still shying away from the bottoms of the bowls that cradle the soft and pliable uncooked dough.
- With an electric appliance or rubber spoon gently mix one and one-fourth cups sugar until pale, fluffy for about four to five minutes; then add eggs, one at a time, slowly and deliberately beating well after each addition, stroking the sides of bowl periodically, finally adding the smooth vanilla essence .
- Sift flour into medium bowl and toss dried fruit to coat each piece.
- Gradually beat flour into egg mixture until combined.
- Then add three tablespoons of milk and beat the mixture again until smooth. This should only take about thirty seconds.
- Transfer the rich batter to the prepared bowl or ramekins, smoothing the top so that the sweet mix is tidy avoiding any dripping on the sides.
- Cover the bowl or each ramekin with parchment paper circle(s), or foil if you have nothing else, pressing gently on the contents as if trying to make a cozy nest for the batter.
- Transfer the bowl or ramekins to the steamer after you have achieved moderately high heat and the water is just at a simmer, and then cover the pan tightly.
- At this point lower the heat to moderate, adding more boiling water to the pan if necessary. This step in cooking takes about two hours for the large Pyrex bowl to steam and about one hour for the ramekins until your Spotted Dick is set.
- Serve with a generous portion of the custard sauce recipe included below or you may choose to use an ample portion of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or even Crème Anglaise for that exotic, je ne sais quoi, flair.
You will need:
- Three egg yolks
- One tablespoon of superfine sugar (granulated sugar will do in a pinch)
- One cup of whole milk
- One fourth teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is nearly boiling.
- Meanwhile whisk the yolks and sugar together in a bowl.
- Temper the eggs with the hot milk before whisking the hot milk into the egg mixture. Tempering allows you to slowly raise the temperature of your eggs to the temperature of a hot liquid and serves the purpose of preventing the yolks from turning into scrambled eggs. (Take a cup or so of your hot milk mixture and very, very slowly dribble it into your egg yolks, whisking continually. Continue in this manner until about half the milk mixture has been incorporated with the yolks. Slowly pour all of the new yolk/milk mixture into one bowl).
- Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or a double boiler and stir over the indirect heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, this will further prevent curdling the custard.
- Finally stir in the vanilla essence and more sugar, according to taste.
- Strain and serve warm over a tasty portion of Spotted Dick.
Whether you’re feeling insatiably hungry or you have a hankering for something a little sweet; even if you’ve been naughty or a wee bit nasty, or if you need a treat after a long dose of dietary celibacy then this is worth a try. Forgive the euphemism in its name and the not-so-subtle turns of expression used in this recipe because if you give Spotted Dick a crack you won’t want to turn back and every Fanny Farmer you may know is sure to be envious.