Traditional Scottish Clootie Dumpling

Traditional Scottish Clootie Dumpling

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
602 Calories
25g Fat
88g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 602
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 137mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 88g 32%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 46g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 138mg 11%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 492mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe makes a traditional clootie dumpling that is deeply embedded in Scottish cooking. It is part of the hearth and home approach which makes the food of Scotland so beloved everywhere. The spicy scent of a cooking clootie conjures up images of Scotland's past—a time when grandmothers would spend hours at the stove making this lovely pudding.

The name comes from the cloth called the cloot. Golden syrup is a sweetener that may also be called light treacle and is typically found in British markets. If you can't source it in the U.S., you can substitute corn syrup.

The fruit and spice-laden suet pudding is famed for the role it plays in Scottish celebrations, and no hogmanay or Burn's night supper would be complete without one.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (125 g) suet 

  • 8 ounces (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for the cloth

  • 4 ounce (125 goatmeal

  • 4 ounces (125 g) sultanas

  • 4 ounces (125 g) dried currants

  • 3 ounces (75 g) granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar

  • Custard or ice cream, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil.

    Traditional Scottish Clootie Dumpling ingredients

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  2. In a large mixing bowl, rub the suet into the flour until it resembles cornmeal. Add the oatmeal, sultanas, dried currants, sugar, baking powder, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir well.

    oatmeal, sultanas, dried currants, sugar, baking powder, ginger, flour and cinnamon in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  3. Add the beaten eggs and the golden syrup. Stir thoroughly.

    beaten egg and golden syrup added to the flour mixture

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the milk, a little at a time, to bind the ingredients together to create a firm dough. Be careful not to over mix or make the mixture too sloppy—it should be firm to the touch.

    Clootie dumpling dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  5. Put the clootie cloth into a clean sink, pour a kettle of boiling water over, and once cool enough to touch, ring the cloth out. Place the cloth on your work surface and sprinkle with flour.

    clootie cloth with flour on top

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  6. Place the dumpling mixture into the center of the clootie. Gather up the edges of the cloth and tie up but not too tightly, leave a little room for the dumpling to expand.

    dumpling inside Clootie cloth

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  7. Place a saucer or tea plate upside down into a large cooking pot. Place the tied clootie onto the saucer and cover with boiling water. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours. Check that the water is not boiling dry from time to time and add water if needed.

    Clootie dough in a wrapped cloth in a pot of boiling water

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  8. Once cooked, carefully remove the dumpling from the water. Remove the cloth then sprinkle the dumpling with a little caster sugar. Preheat the oven to 225 F/100 C.

    Clootie dumpling with caster sugar sprinkled on top

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a shiny skin forms. If you wish to be more traditional, then dry the sugar-covered dumpling in front of an open fire.

    baked Clootie Dumpling on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

  10. Slice and serve the clootie dumpling with custard or ice cream. Enjoy!

    Traditional Scottish Clootie Dumpling piece on a plate

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • For the adults, you can add a little whiskey or Drambuie to the custard or ice cream.
  • Refrigerate any leftover clootie dumpling in a covered container. Enjoy within a couple of days for the best quality. You may want to warm the clootie in the microwave briefly to bring out all of the flavors.

What Kind of Fabric Is Used for Clootie Dumplings?

Use a clean linen or woven cotton fabric when steaming clootie dumplings. Many home cooks use an old cotton dish towel as their cloot. If you plan to use a new piece of cloth, make sure to wash it a few times first and don't use brightly colored fabric, since it could transfer onto the dumpling.