Wee clootie – Maw Broon’s Cooking with Bairns
Will feed 6-8
You will need:
3 tablespoons plain flour for dusting cloth
125g self-raising flour
175g fine white breadcrumbs
125g prepared beef suet
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons each: ground cinnamon, ground ginger
½ grated nutmeg
1 cooking apple, or large carrot peeled and grated
2 tablespoons golden syrup, or honey or marmalade
2 tablespoons black treacle
fresh orange juice if necessary to mix
Before you start:
Get a large pot with a lid
Small plate or saucer
Piece of close-woven cotton or linen cloth (‘cloot’) 55cm diameter
Length of strong string
Large mixing bowl
Sieve with flour for dredging
Fill large pot half-full of water and bring to the boil. Put the small plate or saucer upside down in the bottom of the pot to prevent the dumpling sticking. Add the cloth to the boiling water.
Clear a work surface space the size of the cloth. Lift the cloth out of the pot with some tongs and spread out on the work surface.
While still hot, dust with flour from a sieve evenly over the cloth to about 6 cm from the edge.
Lift up cloth to shake and spread evenly. There should be a thick layer which makes the ‘skin’ and is the seal that prevents water from getting into the dumpling.
To make mixture: put flour, breadcrumbs, suet, baking powder, ground spices, sultanas, raisins, grated apple or carrot in to a large mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the centre.
Put the syrup (or honey or marmalade), treacle and eggs into a small bowl and mix well till dissolved.
Add to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand to get the right consistency. There should be enough moisture to make a fairly stiff consistency. It should not be too soft, or the dumpling will crack, or too stiff when the dumpling will not rise well. Only add orange juice if it is very stiff.
Put the mixture into the middle of the cloth. Bring up the sides of the cloth round the dumpling, making sure all the edges are caught up. Tie round the top tightly with string leaving enough space for the dumpling to expand.
Hold up the tied ends and pat the dumpling into a round shape. Drop into the pot of boiling water. The water should come about half-way up the dumpling. If it is too high it will get into the dumpling and make it soggy at the top.
Tie the ends of the string to the pot handles to keep it upright. Put on the lid.
Leave to simmer over a low heat for about 3 ½ hours, checking the water level every hour and filling up with boiling water if necessary.
To turn out: fill up the sink with cold water. Have a mixing bowl large enough to hold the dumpling. With oven gloves, lift it out of the pot and into the cold water. Hold it for 60seconds in the cold water. This releases the ‘skin’ from the cloth.
Take out and place in the bowl. Remove string and open out cloth.
Place a large serving plate on top and turn the bowl over onto the plate. Remove the bowl and peel off the cloth.
Leave the skin to dry off in a warm place. Serve once the skin has dried. Sprinkle on top with some soft brown sugar. Serve with runny custard or whipped cream.
Glebe Street Tips:
Always eat hot or lightly warm. Leftover slices are great fried up with bacon and eggs.
Once you’ve mastered a Wee Clootie you can double up the recipe to make a proper Broons Clootie large enough to feed all eleven of them.
Stoned dates can be used instead of sultanas. Whizz in food processor till fine and add with the raisins.