Clootie Dumpling

Hazel McFadzean brings us this traditional Scottish pudding that used to be finished on the fire
Clootie Dumpling
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the clootie

  • 200 g chilled butter, diced
  • 350 g plain flour, plus extra for coating
  • 200 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 175 g sultanas
  • 175 g currants and raisins
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 ml full fat milk

For the egg custard

  • 300 ml milk
  • 284 ml single cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour


1. For the clootie: using a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the breadcrumbs, caster sugar, dried fruit, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and mixed spice and stir to combine. Lightly beat the egg with the milk and add this to the mixture. Stir well, bringing everything together into a firm dough.

2. Put a large cotton cloth in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over it and wring it out as tightly as possible - wear rubber gloves for this. Spread the cloth out on the work surface and coat the uppermost surface with plain flour. Place the dumpling mixture in the centre of the cloth, then bring the edges of the cloth up around the dumpling and secure them tightly with a piece of string. Don't wrap the cloth too tightly around the dumpling, as it will expand on cooking.

3. Put a heatproof plate in the bottom of a large saucepan. Place the cloth-wrapped dumpling on the plate and then fill the pan with boiling water so that the water comes 5 cm above the top of the dumpling. Simmer it gently for about 3 hours. Ensure that the dumpling is covered with water at all times, topping it up regularly with more boiling water as required. After the dumpling has been cooking for 2 hours, turn it over.

4. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas 1. Remove the pan from the heat and lift the dumpling out. Undo the string and tip the dumpling out of the cloth on to an ovenproof plate. Bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes to crisp up the outside. While it is baking, make the custard.

5. For the custard: warm the milk and cream together in a pan over a low heat until just below boiling point, then remove the pan from the heat. Beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a large bowl until the egg yolks turn pale, then add a little of the hot milk and cream. Mix this in well before gradually adding the remainder. Pour the custard into a clean pan and cook it over a low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon - take care not to let it boil or it will curdle.

6. Take the clootie dumpling out of the oven, slice, and serve with hot custard.

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