After a break from writing over the Christmas recovery period I return to The New Black thread with a traditional boiled pudding for Burns Night.
I was a latecomer to haggis but always look forward to the end of January and the excuse to taste this Scottish delicacy once again. As a curious food writer, the next question had to be – what else would my Scottish neighbours have eaten as part of this winter festival to celebrate their most beloved poet?
Dessert proved a source of consternation. Many modern day Burns Night menus offer the naughty but nice Cranachan. A delicious combination of fresh cream, oats and whisky it was originally a late summer dish, served after the harvest with seasonal raspberries tossed gently into the mix. It is certainly not a dish suited to traditional winter provisions.
Eventually my research turned up the fantastic clootie (or cloutie) pudding, a combination of dried fruit, spices and suet and so named after the cloth used to wrap the ingredients before wrapping.
I couldn’t lay claim to the recipe that I am going to share with you today. The method and ingredients are simple to apply and the result is a pudding full of warming winter spices and much lighter than you might expect. The real trick is to prepare your clootie so as to create a skin as it cooks and it arrives at the table resembling the haggis itself. So I purely share the idea and encourage those of you setting upon your own Burns Night supper to consider giving this a try.
From Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best
12 oz sultanas, 12oz plain flour, 6oz suet
1tsp cinnamon, 1tsp mixed spice, 1tsp ginger
1 grated apple, 5oz soft brown sugar
3 tbl treacle, ½ tsp baking powder
1 egg (beaten), milk to mix
A cloth – butter muslin or clean tea towel.
1. Fill a large saucepan or stock pot with boiling water and keep boiling ready for clootie
2. Mix all the dry ingredients and apple together.
3. Add the treacle, egg and milk and mix until you get a thick dough.
4. Scald the cloth in the boiling water, then spread the cloth onto a flat surface.
5. Spread flour over the wet cloth. This creates the skin of the dumpling.
6. Add your dumpling dough to the centre of the cloth. Pull the sides of the cloth together and
wrap the dough into a tight ball with the cloth. Tie the cloth tightly with string keeping the dough
7. Add the dumpling to the boiling pot. Ensure the water comes up to the top or over the
dumpling. Boil for 3 ½ hours.
8. Ensure you keep the water on the boil and continue to top up the pot with water.
9. After 3 ½ hours lift out the dumpling from the pot, cut away the string and slowly unpeel the
cloth from the dumpling.
10. Once you’ve peeled away about 6 inches in diameter.
11. Add a plate upside down on top of the dumpling and tip the dumpling onto this plate. Slowly
unpeel the remainder of the cloth. The dumpling will look like a grey spotted brain!
12. Put the dumpling in front of a fire to dry off a little and turn brown.