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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cloutie Dumpling in the Slow Cooker (nae clout)

My Granny (Dad's Mum) was not a very adventurous cook.  She made an amazing peppermint slice, mince and tatties and broth,  but her 'signature dish' was her Cloutie Dumpling.  A Cloutie Dumpling is a sweetened fruit pudding, boiled in a cloth (clout), the cloth is floured giving the pudding a 'skin'.  My Granny made a Dumpling at Christmas and for my Dad's birthday and we ate it as dessert with custard.  She would always send us home with half the dumpling and Dad would fry it in butter and dredge it with caster sugar, that was my favourite way to eat it.  I know a lot of people also serve it with a full Scottish breakfast.

My Mum, who is an excellent cook and baker,  tried to replicate Granny's Dumpling but she never could get it to taste the same.  Granny would mix the Dumpling in her washing up bowl, sterilised with boiling water, she didn't weigh anything it was a handful of this and a handful of that and she added a whole tub of mixed spice. We had such a laugh one Christmas when Granny put a piece of holly on top of the Dumpling and put it back in the oven to dry off after boiling (as you do).  When she took it out, the PLASTIC holly had melted in a green pool on top of the dumpling!  We just scraped it off and at the Dumpling anyway.

I'm not sure whether it was Mum's failure that put me off, or the fact that I am not really that keen on Dumpling, but I've only made it once, it worked okay but boiling puddings for hours is a luxury I really don't have.

Having learned a few things about cakes and puddings in the Slow Cooker recently,  I wondered whether it would be possible to cook a Cloutie Dumpling in the Slow Cooker as it has a sort of steaming effect.  I decided against using a 'clout' and lined the Slow Cooker with a baking parchment cake liner.  I perused a number of different recipes for Cloutie Dumpling, every Scots Granny seems to have her own recipe, but none uses a whole tub of mixed spice! In the end I ditched the breadcrumbs and suet in favour of butter in this hybrid 'Nae Clout' (No Cloth) Cloutie Dumpling, I don't pretend it's a real Cloutie Dumpling more a boiled/steamed fruit cake, but the smells coming from the pan and the finished texture is pretty good, without having your windows steamed up and constantly checking to see that there is still enough water in the pan!

Slow Cooker Cloutie Dumping

350g mixed dried fruit
110g caster sugar
220ml water
110g butter
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
110g plain flour
110g self-raising flour

Put the dried fruit, sugar, water, butter, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a pan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside until just warm.

Add the eggs a little at a time alternating with spoonfuls of the flour.  Mix well.

Line your Slow Cooker with baking parchment or a cake tin liner, cook on high for 2 1/4 hours.

Slow cookers do vary in timing, so it may take 15 minutes either side of this time.  If your cooker has a clear lid, you can see the change to the top of the dumpling as it bakes.  I did test this one with a skewer after 1hr 45 minutes but the middle wasn't cooked.  Lifting the lid does increase baking time, so do keep an eye on this as it reaches the 2 hour mark. 

This is my entry for my own Slow Cooked Challenge, the theme this month is St Andrew's Day and what better way to celebrate than a Cloutie Dumpling!

I was listening to BBC Radio Scotland's Kitchen Cafe programme last Friday, as I was on holiday from work, the programme was all about Food Blogging and I tweeted about the Cloutie Dumpling with 'nae clout', I got a mention on the programme and the tweet below from Sue Lawrence, well known Scottish cookery and food writer and ex Masterchef winner.

I'm also entering the Cloutie Dumpling with nae clout for Tea Time Treats, the monthly blogging event run alternately by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Jane at The Hedgecombers .  Jane is hosting this month and the theme is Bonfire Night, I think a nice slice of dumpling would be perfect for bonfire night, with or without custard!

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At 5 November 2014 at 08:11 , Blogger Marie said...

This took me back. We always had a dumpling for Christmas and as birthday cakes. I ate mine thickly buttered but my dad would only eat it fried with a cooked breakfast. I might just have to give this a go I'll have to borrow a slow cooker though!

At 5 November 2014 at 11:19 , Blogger Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I am craving dumpling with custard now Janice. That slow cooker has certainly been a great bit of kit for you. Nice to see you getting so creative with it.

At 5 November 2014 at 11:28 , Blogger Janice said...

Thanks Marie. It is a real blast from the past and this recipe takes all the hard work out of it.

At 5 November 2014 at 11:29 , Blogger Janice said...

Thanks Jac, I do love a new gadget to play with and I'm learning so much from other people's entries to the Slow Cooker Challenge.

At 5 November 2014 at 12:28 , Anonymous Lou, Eat Your Veg said...

I've heard of a Cloutie Dumpling but didn't actually know what it was until I read your post Janice! Sounds really very nice, albeit possibly with less spice than your Granny added. And what a wonderful use of a slow cooker, very intriguing!

At 5 November 2014 at 20:54 , Blogger Janice said...

Glad to be of service Lou! In defence of my Granny it was a big dumpling that she made, but my Mum could never bring herself to add a whole tub of mixed spice! I'm amazed at what can be made in a slow cooker, it seems to be endless.

At 6 November 2014 at 08:59 , Anonymous Alison said...

I have never heard of this but do love steamed puddings, although it is a faff to keep checking them. Loving the making it in a slow cooker idea, must give it a try.

At 6 November 2014 at 09:15 , Anonymous Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry said...

Hmmmm - more things to do with the slow cooker as well as learning what a Cloutie Dumpling is.

At 6 November 2014 at 11:12 , Anonymous Craig - The Usual Saucepans said...

Wow - I haven't had Cloutie Dumpling in YEARS! My grandpa always made it for us in the winter and quite often brought one down when he came to stay at Christmas. It's great with custard, but you can't beat (the artery clogging) fried in butter and drowned in caster sugar version. I'm going to have to try make one this year - perhaps slow cooker Cloutie is the way forward though!

At 1 December 2014 at 07:16 , Blogger Unknown said...

What a great idea to 'steam' puddings in the slow cooker - wouldn't that be great on xmas day when there just aren't enough hob tops to go round! Thanks so much for sharing with Tea Time Treats Janice, it's perfect bonfore fare :)
Janie x


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