Rich, sweet and filling, the clootie dumpling is a traditional Scottish spiced fruit pudding often brought out at Hogmanay or to round off a Burns Night supper. It is named after the cloot or clout, the Scots word for cloth, in which it is wrapped and simmered.
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
200g beef suet
250g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
500g mix of sultanas and raisins
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3cm piece of root ginger, peeled
3 tbsp black treacle
100ml whole milk
For the whisky custard:
500ml whole milk
3 tbsp whisky
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp caster sugar
60cm square muslin cloth or clean tea-towel
4 litre saucepan
Place a small plate upside down in the 4 litre saucepan, then fill with boiling water. Cover with a lid and keep on a simmer. Using tongs, dip the cloth into the water and wring out excess liquid. Lay out on a clean work surface, sprinkle with flour so it is approximately ½cm thick, then sprinkle lightly with sugar.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, suet, sugar, sultanas and raisins, spices and bicarbonate of soda. Grate the apple, carrot and ginger into a separate large bowl, then crack in the eggs and add the black treacle. Whisk to combine thoroughly, then gradually whisk in the milk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until combined in a thick batter.
The flour layer on the cloth should have turned into a paste. If not, sprinkle with 1 tbsp cold water. Transfer the batter to the cloth, then bunch up the sides to the top and tie the ends together with string, allowing some room for the batter to expand. Place into the pan of water and cover with a lid. Simmer on a low heat for 4 hrs, topping up with boiling water every hour or when necessary.
To make the whisky custard, combine the milk and whisky in a saucepan and bring to the boil. In a large jug, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar. Whisk the milk mixture into the egg mixture gradually until smooth, then pour into the saucepan. Simmer for 1-2 mins until the custard thickens. Strain through a sieve.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Remove the cloth and transfer the dumpling to an oven tray. Bake for 15 mins, to dry out. Serve with the whisky custard.
More recipes for sharing are in the January 2019 issue of LandScape magazine