Clootie Dumpling - Microwave Version
Haggis is not the only boil-in-the-bag traditional Scottish recipe. There's also Clootie Dumpling, which is the Scottish equivalent of English Christmas Pudding. A cloot is a dishcloth. It gets a thick coating of flour, the dumpling ingredients are piled onto it, tied up, immersed in water, and boiled for hours. The long cooking time turns all that extra flour into a thick, chewy, wonderful skin. Metal lucky charms and small coins are wrapped in wax paper and hidden in the dumpling, ready to break an unsuspecting tooth and add to the fun.
It's a slightly tricky recipe to get right. At the end of one Christmas dinner, oor mum proudly placed the dumpling, in its cloot, in the centre of the table and unwrapped it. It cascaded all over the table and onto our laps, scalding us. Mom, being famously-thrifty, insisted we eat it right off the table, telling us (as always) that it was "just as good" that way. It wasn't.
I'll post a full recipe eventually, but this is a twenty-minute foolproof microwave version that gets amazingly close to the original, minus the chewy skin. Slice and serve hot with ice cream and brandy sauce. It's also wonderful fried in butter and served with ice-cream, but is twice as good crispy-fried in bacon-fat and served with bacon 'n eggs.
4 oz white sugar
2 beaten eggs
1/2 pint water
1/2 lb plain flour
1 TBS mixed spice
1 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 lb butter, NOT margarine (NEVER, never margarine!)
1 lb mixture of dried fruit, candied fruit, and crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon black treacle or molasses
Put the water, spices, fruit, sugar, butter and treacle in a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute only. Remove from the heat. Stir the rest of the ingredients into the mixture. It will appear to start cooking.
Do not worry. Put mixture into pudding basins that have been lined generously with cling wrap. Wrap should flap over the sides of the basin: don't cover the top. Tap to get rid of air pockets. Place into the microwave for about 7mins, but you may need to adjust the time to your own microwave. The cling wrap helps getting it out of the bowls and - inverted - onto the plate.
You've no doubt heard of a Full English Breakfast (also known as a British Rail Heart-Attack). It's a tame thing compared to a Full Scottish Breakfast: Two eggs sunny-side-up, Ayrshire bacon, Lorne sausage patty, a slice each of black (blood) and white (suet) pudding, a girdled tomato, and a slice of fried clootie dumpling. Perhaps best to keep it as a bucket-meal, as it might just kick the bucket for you.