Thursday, August 04, 2005


Spotted Dick

I just had to put this up. I mean, come on. If you are not British, (IE, you are North American) this should make you giggle. (I only say North American, because I don't know if that is funny world wide, but here, well, it is.)

I may not be as adventurous as Steve, but for me, this was a little bit of culinary exploration. When I saw it in the market, I just had to buy it and do a taste test! (It was $6.00 at The Mayfair Market and I guess, could serve three or four not so hungry people) The bonus is that the empty can is a great mold too! Whoo-eeee.

So get this, despite the name, Spotted Dick is a Nursery Pudding. The origin of the name is pretty much unknown (there are theories but no really proof) In Brit speak, that means, its a dessert children are served. It is also traditionally made with sultanas and suet. Mmm. Nothing says sweetness like suet. The canned version was vegetarian (something I tend to look for in a dessert product.) but you can substitute butter when the mood strikes you to whip one up.

It really is a can of convenience cake that you boil (the whole can) in water for 30 minutes then open and eat warm. I liked it a lot actually. The spots are raisins and the cake has a spicy-sweetness that I thought was really quite tasty, (seemed to be flavored with golden syrup and cloves) but, whoa bessy, was it dry. Experts in this treat tell me it should really have been served with toffee sauce, or custard (which is what English speaking North Americans call pudding. Extra confusing, I'm sure). Oh well. For a cake-in-a-can-with-a-hilarious-name it fit the fun-time bill to a tee. Dessert oddness indeed. If you see it on your grocers shelf, I do suggest you grab yourself a can and indulge.


Suet is raw beef or mutton fat, especially that found around the loins and kidneys. It is a solid at room temperature, and melts at about 21°C (70°F). It is a saturated fat.

What is the significance of "57"?
The Heinz 57 Varieties slogan is synonymous with the name "Heinz." Our corporate history tells us that in 1896, Henry John Heinz noticed an advertisement for "21 styles of shoes." He decided that his own products were not styles, but varieties. Although there were many more than 57 foods in production at the time, because the numbers "5" and "7" held a special significance for him and his wife, he adopted the slogan "57 Varieties." Thus, a new advertising campaign was launched for Heinz 57 Varieties — and the rest is history! - From

I read Spotted Dick Sil Vous Plait, a few years ago, and liked it. Maybe you will too!


DO I have a story about this...visit my blog tomorrow as I will share it...glad you liked it!
I will! Im excited to hear it! (See it? Read it? Whatever...LOL)
Whoa, and microwaveable! Was this just sitting there on the shelf, in your supermarket?
I know, don't you just LOVE that it's microwavable! Too hilarious. And yes, it was just there on the shelf in the store. There are a LOT of British ex-pat on the west side of LA which may explain why it seems to be available in so many spots.
I found a can of something in New Zealand called "Spongy Pud" which I believe is kind of the same thing. I'll have to pull out for photo of it.
I much prefer my dicks without spots.
forget the tins - in the UK you can now actually buy them in microwaveable containers too!

Custard isn't the same as pudding - per se - because it can be thick or thin and would usually be hot when served with english 'puddings'
Spongy Pud is just as raunchy! I LOVE it!

And Sam, it was my experience that pudding is custard and also sometimes what I thought was anglaise sauce. Birds brand, for instance, to me was pudding and served cold. Is that not typical?
I am confused . there is avery good reason that I have to research this issue further
I remember I could never stop snickering everytime I walked past the Mr Brains Faggots in the freezers at Tescos! =)
Hee hee hee! When I saw that word on a menu board at a fish and chip place I almost passed out (I thought, of course, it meant cigarette, and was super confused how come one would want one fried with chips) They have the best food names there, but then again, we have an mortgage company called Fanny-Mae which positivly KILLS them! LOL. (Fanny is a really bad word in the UK.)
Ha! We did indeed have spotted dick once a week for school dinner growing up in England. Always with custard. It is a good thing and very very bad for you (lots of suet, flour and sugar).

On to custard. The issue here is that the word pudding in England means dessert. And that comes from steamed pudding desserts. Just to confuse matters further, spotted dick is actually a steamed pudding. So - to a Brit it is basically inconceivable and very confusing to describe custard as pudding.

Now - on to North America - pudding means a thickish sauce type thingy usually associated with dessert. (refer to Yankee Doodle the song and the hasty pudding mentioned). More specifically, pudding is something thickened with cornstarch.

Now we move on to resolving everyone's confusion. When your Brit friends and Sam say custard they mean THIN custard - custard you can pour easily out of a jug. It is THIS kind of custard that should be served with spotted dick - the only other acceptable condiment is golden syrup.

I personally never cared for thick custard and thick custard does indeed correspond to an American pudding. Even chocolate pudding is only barely acceptable.

So - all straightened out now?

By the way, if you liked spotted dick you should check out the following:

sussex pond pudding
queen of puddings
summer pudding

these are all steamed puddings that put spotted dick to shame. I made queen of puddings precisely ONCE and years later still get begged to make it again. Puddings are in vogue again in Britain. Go to the BBC website and look for the food section and do a search on 'pudding'.
I figure as long as I know what's what in which country, Im good. And pudding/dessert is always worth finding. Thanks for the in-depth explination!
(You will see, its an ongoing confusion for me, Brit versus North American foods, and Sam is always very helpfully setting me straight. LOL)

Whats that old expression? England and the US. Two countries divided by a common language.

(On another note, as someone with family in South America, I am very concious that people in the USA are not the only Americans, as people from Guatamala, Chile and Canada are also, which is why I am constantly saying North Americans, though that is still a little off. USA-ians just seems odd though. LOL)
I guess "US-ers" doesn't exactly work, either. Especially in a Great Lakes regional accent. To give an example of what that sounds like: I live in Buffalo, NY, and drive across the Southern Ontario peninsula to get back to my hometown of Port Huron, MI, as well as family in Sarnia, ON. Upon arriving, the conversation goes something like this:
MOM - "How was Customs?"
ME - "It was fine - I called the guy an ass and he let me through."
MOM - "You did WHAT???"
ME - "He asked my citizenship, I said 'US' and he waved me through."
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