Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here comes the Spotted Dog, although there is another name..

Ooooohhhhh...when the weather outside is frightful and the wood stove is so delightful, consider making yourself a "Spotted Dog" or as some say "Spotted Dick"...dick being an old fashioned English word for pudding!!...as you can see from the title of this post I prefer dog...perhaps because I indeed do have a spotted dog!!
SPOTTED DOG RECIPE
Ingredients:
6oz/1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon (preferably organic)
juice of 1/2 lemon
6oz/ 3/4 cup sugar
6oz/ 3/4 cup plump raisins
2oz/ 3/4 cup shredded suet (yes I know in the mincemeat recipe I mentioned how grim it was to shred suet BUT I have to admit I thought it was grim but hadn't actually done it..I bought some nice suet from Farmers Fare from local cows at Aldermere Farm and tried my hand and found it was somewhat akin to shredding soft candlewax...not gruesome at all really plus I tried one recipe with butter and suet and it came out a lot stodgier...ie dense and a bit too carby and sticky)
2 large eggs whisked together
3 fl oz/1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/essence and 1 of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

Before you get going on the recipe you will need to find yourself a 3 cup (24 fl oz) basin or bowl that you can steam. Then find a double boiler, or steamer, that takes the depth of bowl with a fitted lid not touching the top of the bowl!! Put the empty bowl into the top of the boiler and fill with water until it comes to about 3/4 way up the side of the bowl, take the empty bowl back out, put the lid on and start the heat 'til the water is doing a nice rolling boil. Then butter well the inside of your cute little bowl. Set aside. Then cut out a round of parchment big enough to fit the top of the bowl and down the sides about 3/4", butter this parchment...then also cut out a round of aluminium foil the same size....now you're ready....off we go!!
In the meantime make your 'pud'
1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, cardamom, nutmeg and baking powder.
2. Rub the shredded suet into the flour mix until it resembles even sand, you ca also do this by whisking a couple of separate times in a food processor.
3. Stir in the zest, raisins and sugar.
4. Stir in the lemon juice, then the eggs, then the vanilla and then the milk.
5. Bob's your Uncle...you have the thing you see below...a nice thick batter!!

Now put all your delicious batter into your buttered bowl, cover with the round of parchment, then with foil and then put a couple of elastic bands around the top edge of the bowl to make the parchment and foil somewhat airtight, THEN use string to tie like a package, this really helps you retrieve the bowl from the pot without burning the crap out of your fingers!!!
THUS...your pud should look like this ready to bobbed into it's steam bath...below...
...and here we go, put the lid on and boil that little 'puppy'(ha ha) for about 2 hours!! Check on the water occasionally and make sure it doesn't get low...refill with boiling water to keep the boil going. About 20 minutes before your 2 hours is up start to make the custard as below...the dog and the custard should both be almost hot when served.
TA DAH!!!! Here's the pud after it has sat for about 10 minutes to settle, untie the string, uncover the pud and invert onto a plate...please be aware that when you first uncover the pud it may well look somewhat uncooked, like a dumpling, but this is because this part, the flat bottom, of the pud can get a bit damp during the long steaming...just wait until you un-bowl it though...looks lovely doesn't it, I think it looks like a mold for a hat!!??

THIN CUSTARD, CREME ANGLAISE, POURING CUSTARD, CUSTARD SAUCE, ANLANN CUSTAIRD
from "Irish Traditional Food" by Theodora FitzGibbon, a goodly trusty cookbook
1 heaped tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk whisked together
10 fl oz/ 1 1/4 cups whole milk

1. Beat together the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and sugar in a bowl.
2. Have another double boiler on the go.
3. Heat the milk to almost boiling in the top part of the double boiler but on the stove top to make it go faster.
4. Stir a little of the hot milk into the egg mix and then a bit more to temper the temperature.
5. Then put the top part of the double boiler back over the bottom and the boiling water and whisk the egg and milk mix into the rest of the milk
6. Do not leave the custard alone now until it is finished or it will curdle whilst you are not looking and you will have to start again. SO stir and stir and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken and coats the back of the spoon as in the picture below...you take the spoon out of the custard, turn the spoon over, run your finger through the custard and if the line doesn't fill back in it is ready, don't let it cook too long or get too hot as the eggs will start to turn into scrambled eggs and the sauce will be grainy.....take off the heat immediately and continue to stir.
Pour custard into a heat proof vessel as below...
Spoon your pud out and cover with lashings of hot custard and consume!!! YUM, tastes a lot like a very lightly flavoured and weighted Christmas Pudding...it does stick to your ribs but not quite so tenatiously!! Happy steaming...we are lucky to have a good old wood burning stove as we can steam all day long on this little purring darling and not waste one extra calorie of energy!!
And here is my spotted dog, little Eleanor, not so spotty in this picture but how could I resist sharing with you Ellie resting with her oatmeal rabbit!!
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