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Suet Pudding

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Prep Time: 15 mins    Cook Time: 2 hrs

5 from 2 votes

Suet pudding is an old-fashioned British dessert that uses beef or lamb fat instead of oil or butter. There are savory recipes for suet pudding, but this one combines suet with sweet ingredients like vanilla, molasses, and raisins, making it ideal for dessert.

Suet pudding in a bowl with a spoon.
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Recipes like this can be boiled, steamed, or baked. This recipe is steamed for a couple of hours. You can pretty much just leave it to cook, but don’t forget to check often in case the water needs to be topped off.

This is a rich, somewhat heavy dessert which is especially ideal for those chilly evenings. The delicate herbs add an extra-special touch. It’s suitable for beginner cooks since all you really have to do is mix the ingredients together and cook the dessert.

You might also want to try bread and butter pudding or this yummy raisin rice pudding, two more of my favorite British desserts.

Main Ingredients

The ingredients used to make suet pudding laid out on a table.

Let’s take a look at the key ingredients you will need to make suet pudding:

  • Suet: The star of the dessert. Suet is the hard fat from a sheep or cow. Although lard is similar, suet is what gives this dessert its characteristic flavor and texture. If you don’t eat meat, there are vegetarian suet alternatives available which are very similar. If you can’t get that either, vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, will work in its place.
  • Molasses: For a rich sweetness. Molasses adds an intense, caramel-like flavor to the dessert. You could substitute honey or agave syrup instead if you don’t mind losing the molasses flavor.
  • Raisins: A traditional British dessert ingredient. There are plenty of British desserts with raisins and other types of dried fruit and this steamed suet pudding is one of the best. Use currants, sultanas, golden raisins, or any other kind you like.
  • Spices: For flavor. Cinnamon and cloves are delicious in this suet pudding. They add warm, aromatic accents to the overall taste and pair beautifully with the rich molasses flavor.
  • Cornstarch: A thickener. Cornstarch is used in the sauce along with milk and sugar. You will need to gently cook the sauce for several minutes because the cornstarch takes a while to thicken the mixture. Alternatives for cornstarch include arrowroot and tapioca flour, but the amount needed will vary, so it’s best to add a little at a time.

Instructions Overview

The first thing to do is mix the buttermilk with molasses, vanilla, and suet. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl. Stir both mixtures together and then add in the raisins.

Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and cover with foil. Steam it over boiling water for a couple of hours, adding more water whenever needed.

To prepare the sauce, mix the milk, sugar, and cornstarch together in a pan and warm it up, stirring all the time until thickened. Divide the suet pudding between serving bowls and pour the sauce on top.

Two bowls of suet pudding ready to be served.

Common Questions

What does suet pudding taste like?

Fresh suet has a mild, slightly meaty smell and it’s crumbly and dry in texture. When it’s used in sweet recipes it helps to make them rich and satisfying but doesn’t give them a meaty flavor. This recipe is rich-tasting and delicious.

Is suet the same as lard?

No, it isn’t. Lard is a semi-solid fat that comes from pigs, while suet is a hard white fat from sheep or cows. These can be used interchangeably in some recipes, but use suet for this one, for an authentic result.

Can you reheat suet pudding?

Reheating it by steaming is going to take almost the same time again as when you cooked it. Also, the texture can become a bit tough. For this reason, it’s best to make the dessert just before serving it so you can be sure it’s moist.

A close up of suet pudding.

Chopnotch Tips

  • This dessert is sometimes served with hot vanilla custard in the UK in place of the sauce. You could even serve a bit of each, or perhaps some whipped cream.
  • If you can’t find suet in your local butcher or grocery store, check online or in specialty British food markets.
  • If you don’t like the idea of using meat suet or you prefer a vegetarian take on this dessert, look out for vegetarian suet. The Atora brand is the most popular.
  • If you would prefer to make individual puddings, divide the batter between ramekins instead of using one large dish. They will cook a lot faster this way too.
Pudding in a white bowl on a table.

Suet pudding is a British recipe that dates all the way back to the 1800s. This recipe boasts the flavors of vanilla and raisins.

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.

Recipe

How to Make

Suet Pudding

Try your hand at making an authentic British recipe. Offering vanilla, molasses, and raisin flavors, this is a very special dessert.
SCALE THIS RECIPE
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 bowls

Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup molasses
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded suet
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup raisins

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
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Instructions

To make the pudding:

  • Stir together the buttermilk, molasses, vanilla extract, and shredded suet in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt. Now add half of this dry mixture to the suet mixture and stir until just combined, then add the remaining dry mixture and stir until the batter is chunky. Stir in the raisins.
  • Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and place it over medium heat. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray, pour the batter into it, and then cover it with aluminum foil and set it aside.
  • When the water reaches a gentle boil, place a bowl upside-down in the center of the pot and then place the cake pan on top of the bowl.
  • Steam the pudding for about 2 hours. Keep an eye on the water level and add more boiling water as needed in order to maintain the water level. Ensure the water level remains just below the cake pan. When an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the center, remove the cake pan from the pot, remove the foil, and let the pudding rest for 5 minutes.

To make the sauce:

  • Meanwhile, combine the milk, granulated sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir it continuously for about 5 minutes until the mixture is nice and thick.
  • Spoon the pudding into serving bowls and top with the warm sauce. Serve and enjoy!
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Notes

  • This dessert is sometimes served with hot vanilla custard in the UK in place of the sauce. You could even serve a bit of each, or perhaps some whipped cream.
  • If you can’t find suet in your local butcher or grocery store, check online or in specialty British food markets.
  • If you don’t like the idea of using meat suet or you prefer a vegetarian take on this dessert, look out for vegetarian suet. The Atora brand is the most popular.
  • If you would prefer to make individual puddings, divide the batter between ramekins instead of using one large dish. They will cook a lot faster this way too.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 401kcal (20%), Carbohydrates: 90g (30%), Protein: 6g (12%), Fat: 2g (3%), Saturated Fat: 1g (6%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg (2%), Sodium: 493mg (21%), Potassium: 855mg (24%), Fiber: 2g (8%), Sugar: 47g (52%), Vitamin A: 100IU (2%), Vitamin C: 1mg (1%), Calcium: 168mg (17%), Iron: 4mg (22%)
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course:
Dessert
cuisine:
British

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