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Unlike many delicate cakes and desserts of European origin, the British tend to enjoy their desserts (or “afters”) as sickly sweet and of real substance! Here are two recipes for some classic British dishes – Spotted Dick and Sticky Toffee Pudding!

Spotted Dick

I have no idea why it’s called this, but spotted dick remains a favourite in British families, and consist of a simple currant sponge cake soaked in Custard. Read on, and you will need:

- 50g butter

- 350g plain flour

- 3 teaspoons baking powder

- 140g suet (that’s animal fat, by the way)

- 90g sugar

- 120g currants

- Zest and juice of two lemons

- 75ml milk

- 75ml cream, whipped

- Custard to serve (store bought is fine)

Preparation:

Use your fingers to grease up a pudding bowl (about 1.4 litre). Mix well the flour, suet, baking powder, sugar and currants. Melt the leftover butter and stir into the mix along with the lemon zest and juice. the zest should be fine. Mix the milk and cream separately then slowly stir it in.

Pour the whole mix into the pudding basin and cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper (tracing paper?). Tie around the edge with a piece of string.

The pudding should be boiled, not baked. If your microwave can’t steam-bake, then make sure you have a pan big enough to hold a little boiling water and the pudding bowl. Cook for about an hour and half, making sure to check that the water hasn’t boiled away (this is very important).

Serve with regular custard for a nice sloppy traditional spotted dick pudding!

Sticky Toffee Pudding:

For adult and children alike, sticky toffee pudding a family treat, but don’t overdo it. You will need:

- 200g dried dates

- 250ml black tea

- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

- 85g unsalted butter

- 175g self-raising flour

- 1 teaspoon mixed spice

- 175g brown caster sugar

- 2 beaten eggs

For the sauce:

- 100g muscovado sugar

- 100g unsalted butter

- 150ml carton of double cream

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to mark 4, then boil the black tea with the dates. Keep boiling for about 4 minutes to soften them and stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

Cream the sugar and butter together then beat in the egg, flour and mixed spices. Fold in the dates and pour into an ovenproof dish. Throw into the oven and bake for a good 35 minutes until firm to the touch.

To make the sauce, cook the butter, sugar, and cream over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. After a while, it should turn a nice toffee colour.

Cut the pudding into squares and top with hot sauce and a good scoop of ice cream.

Liked these? Find even more dessert recipes here or find your favourite dessert recipe from here.

Perhaps British cooking is laughed at the world over, but damned if I care. We make the best desserts in the world, and everything else just doesn’t matter. Memories of sloppy horrible school dinners in hand, I will venture forth into the kitchen today and show you how delicious and unique British desserts can really be. Not a hint of chocolate in these recipes – just naturally good in and healthy ingredients grown in the back garden and obtainable from your local farmers market.

Blackberry Suet Pudding: Ingredients

This is a family favourite, as we live next to a few local parks that are all overcome by blackberries in the summer. We can go picking one afternoon and bring a few kilograms in plastic bags, then freeze them to use anytime. You will need:

- 400g blackberries

- 4 tablespoons sugar (more if you blackberries are particularly sharp)

- 450g flour

- 180g suet (or butter if you hate suet, but it isn’t the same)

- Pinch of salt

Preparation:

In a large bowl, mix together the suet, flour and salt, as well as enough water to form a good solid dough. Using 2/3 of the dough (set 1/3 aside), roll out a medium sized circle. Use this to line the sides of an ovenproof pudding basis, about 1 litre size. Throw the fruit and sugar in, then roll out the leftover dough and cover the pudding. Stick a layer of greaseproof paper on top and cover the whole lot in some kitchen foil. To cook, you will boil the pudding. Do this with a large pan (big enough for the bowl to enter completely), and fill with water up to about half way up the bowl (being cafeful not to let water into the actual bowl – so don’t flood it). Boil and simmer to steam the pudding for about 2 hours, but be careful to check the water levels often – you don’t want it to run dry or the bowl may crack or burn.

Serve with milk, or your favourite sauce.

Gooseberry Fool:

Gooseberries are a wonderfully English fruit, and they’re easy to grow in your own garden or pick from nearby. For this delicious dessert you will need:

- 450g gooseberries, ends cut off

- 150ml elderflower cordial (or home made concentrate)

- 2 egg yolks only

- 1 teaspoon arrowroot

- 150ml milk

- 2 tablespoons sugar (again, may need more)

- 150ml double cream
 
Preparation:

Boil the gooseberries in a pan with the cordial, simmering until soft and pulpy (about 30m). Cool, then set aside in a dish.

In another pan, heat some milk but careful not to boil it. Beat the yolks, eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl, then pour in the hot milk, stirring constantly. When completely mixed, return the whole mixture to the pan and heat some boil, until the custard thickens. Again, DO NOT BOIL. Pour the result through a strainer and into another bowl, set aside.

Whip the cream, and sit into the gooseberries you set aside earlier. Now fold in the custard too, but you needn’t mix so much as a slightly marbled effect is quite nice.

Serve like that!

Check out these other fantastic desserts recipes, or try some of the other sweet recipes here too.