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Friday 30 November 2012

Gluten Free: Clootie Dumpling

Clootie dumpling is the sort of thing that everybody's granny has their own recipe for (and every single one is the best clootie dumpling in the world) and there are lots of elements to argue about. Should you use breadcrumbs? If so, white bread of brown bread? Treacle or golden syrup? What spices to use? Quite honestly, We'd be here until next Hogmanay if we tried to reason with each other! Given that this is a gluten free recipe, breadcrumbs were out, but Ma Broon says in her cookbook that oats can be used instead so if you tolerate them, they're a great addition. 

It's too late to make a Christmas pudding, they need time to mature, but clootie dumpling is ready to eat as soon as it's cool enough. My favourite kind of food! The name, by the way, comes from the cloot (cloth) that the dumpling is wrapped in before boiling for a good 3 hours. If you have the time, feel free to do that, but if you don't have 3 hours to play with, it'll take roughly 10 minutes in the microwave.

You'll need:

  • 200g gluten free plain flour mix
  • 135g gluten free oats, most freefrom aisles have them (if you can't find them, use GF breadcrumbs or add an extra 135g of the gluten free flour mix instead)
  • 150g gluten free suet, or freeze a block of lard (or vegetable shortening) for an hour then coarsely grate it into the flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground works but grated whole nutmeg gives the best flavour
  • ½ tsp baking powder, gluten free please
  • 300g sultanas
  • a cooking apple, grated
  • 140g soft brown sugar
  • 3 generous tbsp treacle or blackstrap molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 200-300ml milk

Make it!

  • Mix the flour, oats, suet (or grated lard) cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and baking powder together in a bowl. Add the sultanas, grated apple and sugar and combine.
  • Whisk the treacle with the egg and pour into the dry ingredients, stir well. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time. You want a loose dough, the constancy of a thick cake batter.
  • Line a large microwavable bowl or pudding basin with cling film and pour the mixture in. Give it a good tap to remove air bubbles. Do not cover the top with the cling film!
  • Microwave for 8-12 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave and the heftiness of the bowl. You'll know it's ready when the top is set and the dumpling feels firm but still springy to touch.
  • Leave it to cool for a while before turning out onto a plate.

If you do want to boil it, stop adding milk when you have a thick dough. Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Take a large piece of butter muslin or a clean tea towel and scald it in the boiling water. Carefully(!!) lie it out flat and sprinkle the cloth with gluten free flour. Place the dough in the middle of the cloth and tie the corners together, making sure the dumpling is secure, but leaving room for expansion. Pop an upturned saucer into the bottom of the saucepan and sit the bundle dough on top. Cover and boil for 3 hours, making sure the water doesn't fall below halfway down the dumpling. When the dumpling is cooked, unwrap it and turn it out onto a plate, then dry it out in a moderate oven. (I'm rather fond of the microwaving method, myself.)

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