For some people, searching for the perfect pudding is an unobtainable but enjoyable lifelong quest. Ambrosia may be the food of the Gods but suet is the common people's padding and, in puddings, its true versatility as a food is being re-kindled.
What is Suet?
Suet is the particular fat which surrounds the kidneys and loins of sheep and cattle. It is white and fibrous but when chopped or grated and mixed with flour it can be used to help make dumplings, stuffing, mincemeats, suet crust pastry, jam roly poly or steamed suet puddings such as 'Spotted Dick', which is steamed suet with raisins or sultanas.
For the true suet aficionado there is only one way to cook suet and that is as laid down in the annals of The Suet Pudding Club UK, which meets at least once in the Northern Hemisphere between the yearly winter and spring solstitial points1.
Death by Suet is a dessert and consists of suet wrapped in a cloth and boiled for two to three hours. The pudding when turned onto a serving dish should sit heavily as a solid, amorphous, glistening lump with the folds of the containing cloth impressed into its sides. Each member of the club receives a two-inch-thick slice which is covered with a quarter pint of golden syrup and topped with a similar quantity of double cream and/or custard garnished with an After Eight chocolate. Traditionally 'Death by Suet' is washed down with a bottle of Tizer or a pint of hot tea.
The Suet Pudding Club UK Annual Menu
Starter - Fried whitebait suet rolls garnished with parsley. Complemented with a Gold Label Barley Wine
Main course - Steak and kidney pie made with a suet crust pastry and served with traditional English chips and two rounds of white bread and butter, garnished with herb Rocket. Washed down with a pint of Bateman's XXX beer.
Afters - Death by suet as described above and garnished with After Eight chocolates, together with the optional Tizer or more traditional tea with milk and two sugars. The milk should always be added first, the sugar last.
Death by Suet - Recipe
- 4oz suet, chopped or shredded
- 6oz self-raising flour (plain will do with a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda and a squeeze of lemon)
- 2oz breadcrumbs
- 1tsp salt
- 2oz sugar
- Milk (or water) to mix, about a third of a pint
Mix the suet, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Make a well in the centre and gradually add the milk until there is a soft dropping consistency (not too sticky).
Turn into the cloth (large table napkins or tea towels are ideal).
Tie the cloth both ends as in a sausage shape or gathered at the top and place into a large pan of boiling water and simmer for two to three hours or longer, adding water as and when required to avoid boiling dry.
In the unusual event of there being left-overs, the remains are allowed to cool2 until the following morning when one inch sections are carved and fried in butter, then served as previously, with syrup and cream accompanied naturally, by a large glass of whisky and several large mugs of coffee.
'The Suet Pudding Club UK' accept no liability for any untoward after-effects such as massive indigestion, coronaries, narrowing of the arteries and so on.