Please, Sir, May I Have Some More Spotted Dick

Early Desserts

In the Middle Ages rich people ate desserts like preserved fruits, jelly and wafers made from batter. Furthermore the Italians have been eating panettone since at least the 15th century but its origins are lost in legend.

The Romans knew that eggs could be used for binding. However custard, as we know it was invented in the Middle Ages. However in the Middle Ages most puddings were meat based. Rice pudding was known but until the 19th century it was regarded as a medicine. It was supposed to be good for digestive ailments.

The Tudors were also fond of desserts (if they could afford them). The rich ate preserved fruit, gingerbread, sugared almonds and jelly. However in the 16th century sugar was very expensive so most people used honey to sweeten their food. Marzipan was popular in England from the 15th century. Marzipan is a paste made of almonds and sugar. The Tudors used marzipan to make edible sculptures of animals, castles, trees and people called subtleties.

At Christmas the Tudors enjoyed mince pies, but they had far more significance than today in that they had 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and the apostles, they contained fruit (raisins, currants, prunes) and spices (cloves, mace, black pepper, saffron) and also mutton to represent the shepherds. The fashion was for them to be shaped like a crib, but this practice was banned by Oliver Cromwell. The Tudors also had Christmas pudding but this was shaped like a sausage and contained meat, oatmeal and spices. Twelfth Night cake was fruitcake baked with an item in like a coin or dried bean, whoever found it became King or Queen or host for the evenings entertainment.

Another dessert, syllabub was invented in the 16th century. Moreover Banbury cakes were first mentioned in 1586. By the end of the 16th century people in England were eating fruit fool. (Its name has nothing to do with idiots. It is derived from the French word fouler, meaning to mash.) Blancmange was originally chicken stew flavoured with almonds but in the 17th century it became a white dessert. Barley sugar also dates from the 17th century. Bread and butter pudding also became a common dish in the 17th century. Meanwhile people in England first began eating yogurt in the 17th century.

In the late 17th century the rich began eating ice cream. Many rich people built special underground chambers in the grounds of their houses for preserving ice during the summer. The ice was covered in straw to preserve it. In the 18th century people began to eat trifle similar to the modern dessert. Furthermore the French invented mousse in the 18th century.

Modern Desserts

For centuries most puddings were meat based. In the 19th century puddings took on their modern ‘sweet’ form. Furthermore in the 19th century, with the Industrial Revolution the mass production of cakes and jelly began. Furthermore new desserts were invented by the Victorians. Bakewell tart is known locally as Bakewell pudding. It was, supposedly, invented by accident in 1859. However similar puddings were made in the area as early as the 16th century and the ‘accident’ story is now seen as doubtful.

Roly Poly pudding was invented in the 19th century. So was Spotted Dick. Peach Melba was invented at the end of the 19th century. – From Tim Lambert –


Leave it to the British to come up with an appetizing name for a dessert like Spotted Dick. People have also come up (so punny) with some other family gems like: Cock-a-leekie soup, Toad in the hole, Matzo-stuffed breasts, Mozart balls, Sticky buns, Bubble and squeak, Head cheese, Nut goodie, Lik-em-aid, Grape Nuts, Fish taco, Jerk chicken, Clamato, Atomic Fireballs, Blow pops, Nut roll, Buttered crumpet. Yum.

Sex and food – Two great tastes that go great together.


Spotted Dick – – Adapted from the Daring Kitchen Recipe archives

4 ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces breadcrumbs
3 ounces Caster sugar/ultrafine sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces dried currants
zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons cold milk

1. Butter a 1 liter (2 pint) pudding bowl (a deep glass or ceramic bowl).  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.  Mix in the breadcrumbs, sugar, butter, currants and lemon zest.  Stir in the egg and milk to produce a soft batter.

2. Transfer the batter into the buttered pudding mold (the mold should be two-thirds full).  Cover with greased parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Steam for 2.5 to 3 hours.

3. When the pudding is finished, remove the cover and let the pudding cool for a couple of minutes (it will shrink slightly).  Then cover the mold with a serving plate, hold it firmly and invert the mold.  Lift off the mold to leave the pudding on the plate.  Serve drizzled with white chocolate butter sauce.

White Chocolate Butter Sauce

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped into pieces
6 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons salted butter

Combine all the ingredients in a small heavy-bottom saucepan.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the sauce is smooth.


“I love you like a fat kid loves cake.” – 50 cent

“Food has replaced sex in my life, now I can’t even get into my own pants” – Anon

“Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” – Sarah Bernhardt


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