As you might recall, we are kind of big Harry Potter fans around here, and last week we were trapped in the house, as it were, by Spring Break with no springtime weather in sight. We found ourselves leafing through The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook looking for something Tasty & Delicious to make.
And I have to admit, at the risk of sounding snobbishly American, much of the classically British fare served in the Hogwarts Great Hall sounds pretty unappetizing to me… Steak and Kidney Pudding, Bangers and Mash, Mincemeat anything. But Spotted Dick takes the cake… um, pudding. Er… well it’s a dessert, anyway.
It sounds unwholesome, disgusting even.
It sounds like something to be discussed in hushed tones at the doctor’s office.
It sounds like something you wouldn’t want to put in your mouth. Um. Ever.
But, in reality, it’s just a Victorian-era sort of bread pudding; “spotted” for the raisins and currents in it, and “dick” because it’s allegedly another word for “pudding.”
And I suppose that it goes without saying that once this recipe was discovered by a nine-year-old boy, this was exactly the recipe that we had to make.
(adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook)
Fill a large pot with water (I used my brand new “cauldron” –it seemed fitting, don’t you think?) and place a shallow bowl in the pot. Bring the water to a simmer.
Grease (I used butter) a two-quart heatproof bowl with a tight-fitting lid, and set aside. (I set it in the pot to get warm.)
2 cups all-purpose flour (yup, I really did use white flour)
2 cups bread crumbs (I used whole wheat bread; possibly a mistake) — I put day-old bread into my trusty Ninja and it blended right into breadcrumbs, just like the book suggested it would. No one was more surprised than me!
3/4 cups Sucanat (I reduced the sweetener from the original recipe, and it was still too sweet! And I sort of think I should have just gotten over myself–just this once–and used plain old organic sugar)
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Then add in 1 cup of cold butter (I like Kerrygold) until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Toss in about 1/2 cup of dark raisins, 1/2 cup golden raisins, and 1 cup currants or cranberries. (I didn’t have a whole cup of cranberries, so I added extra raisins. Also, my golden raisins and dark raisins live in the same jar, so my measurements were inexact, at best. It was 2 cups of dried fruit, anyway!)
Pour in 3/4 cup of whole milk and fold it in until the mixture is uniformly moistened. Turn the mixture into the prepared dish– which, ahem, will be HOT– and press the top down.
Cover the dish with the lid, and place it in the pot. The water should come halfway up the sides of the dish. Steam for 3 hours.
The bowl we used in the bottom of the pot wasn’t shallow enough and the water boiled right out the cauldron. Plus it made scary blurpy noises, as the overturned bowl rattled around in the bottom of the cauldron. We felt a bit like Neville Longbottom in a Potions class.
Balancing the whole thing on wooden spoons helped some.
After three hours, we removed it from the pot, inverted it onto a plate (it slid right out–yay!) and served it. The recipe suggest that you serve it with warm custard. We didn’t.
The kids loved it. The Boy, especially, who went through three servings in one sitting.
Personally, I didn’t care for it.
The Boy giggled every time he said it.
The Pixie likes to say it, with all the consonants articulated beautifully, followed by her own giggle that strongly implied that she knew perfectly well that she shouldn’t be mentioning her new favorite dessert in the school lunchroom. Though she probably will.
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