This recipe for dumpling was my great granny Agnes Luke's. My grandad made it on high days and holidays. He never had a fail that I knew of (unless you count the time my granny bleached his pudding cloth to clean it and the smell of bleach ruined the dumpling). Both my grandad Donald and his little brother Lachie made these - they were an institution during my childhood. My mum (aka Grandma Kiwicake's) tried and failed at the recipe, if you don't get the flouring right, water gets in and ruins it. As I've mentioned previously in my family recipe journey blog posts, I sure do wish I paid a little more attention to grandad's recipes at the time, of course we take it for granted our loved ones will be around for ever, grandad passed away when I was a teenager. However during this recipe so many memories came flooding back about how grandad used to do things, with added input from mum, we finally cracked it.
Recipe (from my original written copy)
1/2 tablespoon syrup
2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons treacle
Mix all dry ingredients together. Add a little milk to mix. Do not make the mixture too soft. Add treacle and syrup Put your cloth (pudding) through hot water. Wring it out. Rub flour over the cloth (as below photo).
Grandma Kiwicakes, did an online search and found with the advent of the microwave, people were steaming miniature puddings in a microwave oven bag (we tried a tiny one, on the day, while making our big one (it worked well, but not as great as the original method, it does save 2.5 hours cooking time though)
To cook large pudding place on plate in the bottom of a pot of water and boil for 2.5 hours (water must boil entire time). I tied the top of pudding cloth to a wooden spoon stretched across the top of the pot, to keep it upright.
When untied from the pudding cloth, it looks a pasty white colour from the flour, this is normal, sprinkle with brown sugar.
As it dries, it gradually gets darker in colour
Until eventually it is the colour I remember when the skin dries (like that of tanned leather)
It almost has a crust when cut.
Dumpling is best served warm, we ate it with either cream, or custard, or even a special brandy butter Grandma Kiwicake's would whip up. However she was also well known for frying it the following day and eating it with black pudding.