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.

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