September 15, 2009
“It’s elementary, my dear Watson…”
Congratulations! You’ve all made it to the fist of many destinations, and the beginning of our culinary expedition! The first European city that I visited on my travels was none other than the historically rich hub of civilization that is London, England. (Hopefully the clues from the first post are now fitting together).
I was blessed to have travelled with my aunt Angel to London in the summer of 2005, and enjoyed all of the typical tourist spots in this wonderful city. One cannot go to London without visiting the big stops: Big Ben, The Tower of London, Windsor, and Buckingham Palace; all of which we saw and enjoyed in their architectural glory. In short words, it was a fabulous experience!
In regards to food however, the London culinary scene was not my cup of tea. Fish and Chips abound throughout the city pubs and restaurants, but being me, that was not the first dish I would choose to spend my money on in one of the most expensive cities in all of Europe. However, my aunt had no complaints and in the end Fish and Chips seemed the better food choice than my roast beef sandwich I ended up eating…and then praying that I had not contracted Mad Cow, since that epidemic had just taken off back home in the States. I was more than a little paranoid about the possiblity of impulsive mooing resulting from my lunch, but I digress…
In response to all of that food talk, I wanted to introduce y’all to a dessert that I did not get to try when I was there, but had I known of its existence, I definately would’ve placed my order. Now, to all of the parents reading this, be advised: THIS DESSERT IS X-RATED…in name that is. The dessert that I chose to represent London…drum roll please…is Spotted Dick.
For those whose mouths have dropped to the floor, no I did not fabricate the name, and no, this is in no way related to anything porn. This dessert has actually been around, name and all, since 1847. The history of the name is a prime example of linguistic “evolution”. The dessert would’ve started out simply identified as a “pudding”, however the title eventually became “puddink”, then “puddick” and culminated in “dick”. The “spotted” portion of the title comes from the currants, which look like spots when the dessert is cooked.
It is traditionally a steamed or boiled bread-pudding-like dessert that typically contains suet, the actual fat that surrounds the kidneys in beef (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)-yumm-and currants, as mentioned above. Golden raisins are also incorporated into the dough, adding to the “spotted” portion of the confection.
I found my recipe for Spotted Dick on Epicurious.com, and quickly realized that with what equipment, and ingredients I possessed in my kitchen, making this recipe would require a few tweeks on my part. In regards to the ingredients, instead of the suet, which was just too gross for me to even consider, I substituted frozen butter for fat. Also, in a moment of my shopping incompetance, I bought regular raisins instead of the traditional golden ones. (It worked just fine, by the way).
For cooking: The dessert is typically steamed, but not possessing a stove-top steamer, nor being able to put my glass ramicans on my stovetop, I chose to bake the dessert as I would a souffle. All I did was fill a cake pan (13×9 in) with about an inch and half of water and then proceeded to put my ramicans in the pan. I baked the dough for the Spotted Dick for about an hour at 375/400F. The result was a flaky, buttery confection, slightly sweet and filled with juicy, plump dried fruit. I also made a vanilla custard, which acts as an accompaniment, following a recipe featured on Paula Deen’s webpage.
Overall, my first experience with Spotted Dick was a success, with both my fiance and my brother, my taste testers, actually loving it. So, the next time you’re feeling brave, and want to experience a dessert that’s captured the attention of people all over the world, make this English treat and offer your friends some “dick”, Spotted Dick that is.