For such a popular, well-known British pudding, the meaning behind its name is surprisingly mysterious.
The first documented recipe of “spotted dick” was found in Alexis Benoist Soyer’s 1849 book, The Modern Housewife or Ménagère, suggesting that Brits have been enjoying this dessert for hundreds of years.
Yet while the recipe has been passed down through generations, the origins of the name seem to have been lost.
Often igniting giggles from unsuspecting Americans who find the dessert in the “international” isle of supermarkets, Brits actually have a difficult time explaining and justifying the name.
According to the Huffington Post, here’s what we do know:
- “Spotted” refers to the dried fruit (such as currants and raisins) in the pudding.
- “Dick” may be “corruption of the last syllable of pudding,” a “corruption of dough,” or a reference to the German meaning of “dick” (thick or viscous).
- In the 19th century, other than referring to its usual connotation, “dick” was also associated with abbreviations for dictionary, apron, policeman, and a riding whip.
So make what you will of spotted dick, because it appears there is no one agreed upon meaning for its name.
What we do know, though, is that it is a beloved British pudding. It has a place in popular culture, in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and a place in many homes in the UK.
So if you fancy trying the pudding for yourself, head over to The British Connection and pick up a can of Heinz or Aunty’s Spotted Dick. There’s only a limited amount left!
And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try to make your own?
Ingredients vary depending on the recipe, but no matter which one you choose, we’ll help you get started with a few products: Shredded suet, currants, and brown sugar.
Finally, whether you’re trying a pre-made or homemade version, it wouldn’t be complete without Bird’s Custard. Enjoy!
If you’re a serious spotted dick fan, we sell spotted dick t-shirts and badges! Perfect for gifts.