Suet pastry is a traditional pastry which is used extensively throughout the UK. This pastry makes up part of many of the traditional dishes consumed throughout the UK. This pastry is unusual in that it uses hard processed animal fats rather than using vegetable oils. The animal fats used, show how old this form of pastry is, it has been used for many years to make pies and meat pots. Suet is actually raw beef or mutton fat, especially using the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys. Suet can be bought ready made from supermarkets or from its raw form. Suet is extremely high in calories; due to its deep flavours many people enjoy it although it should be consumed in moderation.
This kind of pastry is traditionally used for steam British pudding such as spotted dick and Christmas pudding. Steaming the product is the best way to cook and bring out the flavours of the suet. For people wishing for simple method, it is recommended to buy this pastry premade from a supermarket, for the more adventurous, the recipe is below.
This recipe will allow a pudding to be made which can be filled with a sweet or savoury filling, it will serve six. To begin sift 350 grams of self raising flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add a touch of ground black pepper, then add 175 grams of shredded beef suet, mix this together with the flour with the blade of a knife. Once the mixture is even and has been thoroughly mixed, add drops of cold water, and continue to mix this with the blade of a knife. Continue to add water until the mixture begins sticky and becomes a claggy mixture which is difficult to move. Once you feel that the dough is sticky and in the correct form, begin mixing the dough with your hands, making an elastic dough, continue adding water until it is elastic. Now place the dough on a floured board and cut a quarter away from it, roll out the dough into a circular shape ensuring that the rolling pin is not going from side to side. Butter the sides of the cooking pot, use plenty of butter, and then press the dough against the sides of the pot. Add the filling into the pot of pastry, whether this is sweet or savoury. Roll out the pastry lid and place this on top, seal it carefully with butter and a rolling pin. Place the pudding into the steamer and steam the pudding until moist and piping hot.
Although this pastry is not used as often in the present day, it was hugely popular several decades ago. In recent time it has been stated by many chefs including cookery tutor Delia Smith that the pastry has been seriously neglected. Spotted dick used to be a popular pudding although this is not seen as often in the present day, the pudding is steamed and contains dried fruit, often served with custard.