Easy Clootie Dumpling Recipe

by Phil & Sonja
Clootie Dumpling on a plate with a jug of custard being poured over it
Clootie Dumpling – Perfect with Custard

When we started Scottish Scran we made a list of all the traditional dishes we intended to make, and a Clootie Dumpling recipe was one of them. Whenever we ask people on our Facebook page Scottish Scran or in our Facebook group Scottish Scran Stories what their favourite Scottish food is the Clootie Dumpling is named multiple times, usually only surpassed by Tablet! It’s definitely one of the best Scottish desserts.

So, due to popular demand, we figured it was about time that we put out a Clootie Dumpling Recipe of our own!

Pin for later!

How to Make Scottish Clootie Dumpling Pin

What is a Clootie Dumpling?

A Clootie Dumpling is a Scottish dessert traditionally made of dried fruit, spices, oatmeal or breadcrumbs, flour, and beef suet. It’s boiled in a cloth, called a “cloot”, hence the name. 

Following a Clootie Dumpling recipe means filling your home with an amazing spicy aroma, surpassed only by the delicious taste once it’s ready to eat!

It’s usually served with custard or cream, and sometimes even with a little whisky added. 

Leftovers are often sliced and fried in butter with bacon and eggs, for a scrumptious, if heavy, breakfast. 

A clootie dumpling on a plate

Where does Clootie Dumpling come from? 

Like many traditional Scottish foods, Clootie dumpling recipes vary from family to family and between regions, so its exact origin is unknown, though it’s possibly thought to date back to the mid -1700’s.

What keeps it constant is the boiling in a “cloot”! While you will find some microwave clootie dumpling recipes, these don’t allow for the “skin” to form across the dumpling that boiling in a cloth does.

The basic ingredients of spices, suet, flour, and dried fruit don’t change, but there are a few different measurements and substitutions. For example, some clootie dumpling recipes call for oatmeal and others for breadcrumbs in addition to flour, treacle or golden syrup, and even extra additions like grated carrot or apple. 

Clootie Dumplings are usually associated with Christmas and Hogmanay (New Year), perhaps due to the similarity to a Christmas pudding, though it’s not quite as rich. But it is also often home to a few coins or charms said to give good luck to the finder. Not so lucky if you chip your tooth on one! 

Also often served on Burn’s Night in January, the Clootie Dumpling is definitely a winter-warmer type of recipe and very traditional! Because of the way recipes were handed down through families it would have been made long before the first recipes were published in the mid 18th century to early 19th century. 

The general premise of a Clootie dumpling recipe is fairly simple – dry ingredients are mixed with the wet, then it is wrapped in the floured cloth and simmer for several hours.

The trick is in dusting the cloth with flour to help form the distinctive skin over the dumpling, which is then dried out in the oven or fridge, although it would traditionally have been done in front of the fire! 

Scottish Clootie Dumpling Recipe on a plate with custard and whole pudding in the background

Things you’ll need to make a Clootie Dumpling

  • Large Mixing bowl – we use this one
  • Large Baking Tray
  • Metal Colander
  • Knife or Scissors
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Large Pot with lid
  • Saucer – to fit in the bottom of the pot
  • “Cloot” / Clootie Dumpling Cloth – A Muslin or cheesecloth or even an old pillowcase! – we use this one
  • String or Cooking Twine
  • A clean and dry sink!

Ingredients for Clootie Dumpling

  • 200g Plain Flour – additional flour will be required for flouring the cloth and surface of the pudding
  • 125g Oatmeal
  • 150g Suet / Unsalted Butter
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 3 Tbls Black Treacle
  • 2 Eggs (Medium)
  • 125g Currants
  • 125g Sultanas/Raisins
  • 150ml Milk – To be used as required
A spoonful of clootie dumpling

How to make Clootie Dumpling – Step by step method

Making a Clootie Dumpling can seem a little overwhelming since there are lots of ingredients and lots of steps, but if you follow each one carefully you’ll have no problem! 

Take your large mixing bowl and add the flour, oatmeal, suet or butter, sugar, spices, currants, sultanas/raisins, baking powder, and bicarb. Mix together.

Next, add the treacle and the eggs and mix together slowly. It will start to form a large sticky ball, and you may want to get your hands in now to help it come together! You can add a little milk if the mixture seems dry. We usually add between 75-150ml so only do a small amount at a time.

You want to give the ball moisture but only enough for it to seem a little wet, too much and you will struggle to add it to the cloth successfully.

Be warned, you most likely will not need the full amount of milk and the mix will look dryer than it really is.

You may want to clean and dry your hands at this point!

Once you’re happy with the mix take your Clootie Dumpling cloth or “Cloot” and put it in the colander in the sink. Pour boiling hot water over the cloot, covering it thoroughly. Wait for it to cool enough to handle and squeeze out any excess water and place the cloth on a clean surface. Do watch your fingers!

Once your cloot is laid out sprinkle the entire surface of your cloot with a thin and even layer of flour. You can shake off any excess carefully into the sink.

Your aim, once the cloot is tightly tied, is to have the floured cloot touch the whole surface of the dumpling, transferring the flour from the cloth to the pudding. This creates a thin layer of flour over the entire dumpling mix that will form a tasty skin and hold the moisture in.

Top Tip: Go easy on the flour! Too much loose flour on the cloot at this stage will not stick to the mix or the cloth and create build-ups as it falls down. These taste hard and floury and ruin the thin skin you’re trying to create so make sure the layer is nice and even.

Take your dumpling and place it in the centre of the cloot, it should be vaguely ball-shaped at this stage but don’t strive for perfection!

Cut a long piece of string, roughly half a metre in length depending on your pot and skill with knots.

Draw up the corners and edges of the cloot together to the top of the dumpling, making sure the floured cloot touches the whole surface of the dumpling.

Take your string and tie your cloth’s edges and corners together tightly roughly in the centre of the length of string. You want to leave a little space between the top of the dumpling and your knot to allow the pudding to expand.

Place a small plate in the base of your pot, this should be able to withstand heat.

Carefully lift your newly tied clootie dumpling and place it into your pot. We kept the extra length of string to enable you to tie your dumpling to any panhandles on either side you may have, this helps keep it in place and submerged in water.

This all sounds easy, right?

Tip boiling water over your dumpling until it is just submerged. Your dumpling may float a little, this is perfectly fine, but it should be under water. Turn the heat on bringing the water to a simmer.

Place the lid of your pan on at a slight angle allowing for steam to escape and set the heat to keep the water gently simmering. Our gas is really quite hot even at its lowest setting so we had to top the water up a couple of times. If the dumpling expands too much, like ours did, place a wooden spoon under the lid to keep it under control and under the water.

Top Tip: If you have a smaller pot don’t push the dumpling down too much as this may mean skin won’t form where the dumpling is pushed into the plate in the bottom of the pot. It should gently float while keeping the dumpling submerged. It’s a balancing act but is possible!

Leave to simmer for 3 hours. The water level should cover the top of your dumpling at all times so do add more boiling water to make sure it’s completely covered if required during the cooking time.

Once your dumpling is cooked take your colander and place it in your sink. Carefully take your dumpling out of the pot and place it in the colander allowing any excess water to drain off. Make sure you don’t move the cloth from the surface of the dumpling at this stage as you may rip the skin.

Preheat your oven to 180°C or 356°F, approx gas mark 4.

Once drained, pick up the clootie dumpling by the knot and put it on a large chopping board or clean heat-proof surface. Using a sharp knife or scissors cut the string at the top of the cloot.

Very carefully peel back the cloot from the dumpling. it is crucial at this stage that you don’t remove the skin formed by the flour. We used the back of a spoon to help keep the skin attached to the dumpling and not the cloot as it’s peeled back.

It’s a slow job and there is no rush but the dream is a dumpling at is completely covered in its newfound skin. The skin may look white and almost fatty but this will darken once placed in the oven and taste great.

Once the cloot is removed, place your dumpling on your baking tray and pop it into the oven for 5 -10mins or until the skin has darkened. Don’t be tempted to leave it in too long as this can dry out the dumpling. If you’re not serving right away you can just leave on the side to cool a little and dry out.

Once your dumpling is done place it on a serving plate, decide if you’d like custard or cream and serve! Amazing! Your dumpling will last 2-3 days and can be reheated or, as is popular here in Scotland, fried in butter for breakfast – delicious!

Enjoy,

Phil & Sonja

Clootie dumpling and custard being poured over it from a jug
Yield: 6 servings

Clootie Dumpling Recipe

Clootie Dumpling Recipe

A Clootie Dumpling is a Scottish dessert traditionally made of dried fruit, spices, oatmeal or breadcrumbs, flour, and beef suet. It’s boiled in a cloth, called a “cloot”, hence the name.

Cooking a Clootie Dumpling means filling your home with an amazing spicy aroma, surpassed only by the delicious taste once it’s ready to eat! 

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 125g Oatmeal
  • 150g Suet / Unsalted Butter
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 3 Tbls Black Treacle
  • 2 Eggs (Medium)
  • 150g Milk - To be used as required
  • 125g Currants
  • 125g Sulatanas / Rasins

Instructions

How to make Clootie Dumpling - Step by step method

  1. Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, oatmeal, suet or butter, sugar, spices, currants, sultanas/raisins, baking powder, bicarb and treacle.
  2. Next, add the treacle and the eggs and mix together slowly. It will start to form a large sticky ball, and you may want to get your hands in now to help it come together!
  3. You can add a little milk if the mixture seems dry. We usually add between 75-150ml so only do a small amount at a time.
  4. Take your Clootie Dumpling cloth or “Cloot” and put it in the colander in the sink. Pour boiling hot water over the cloot, covering it thoroughly.
  5. Wait for it to cool enough to handle and squeeze out any excess water and place the cloth on a clean surface.
  6. Once your cloot is laid out sprinkle the entire surface of your cloot with a thin and even layer of flour. You can shake off any excess carefully into the sink. Your aim, once the cloot is tightly tied, is to have the floured cloot touch the whole surface of the dumpling, transferring the flour from the cloth to the pudding.
  7. Take your ball-shaped dumpling and gently place it in the centre of the cloot.
  8. Cut a long piece of string, roughly half a metre in length.
  9. Draw up the corners and edges of the cloth together to the top of the dumpling.
  10. Take your string and tie your cloth's edges and corners together tightly roughly in the centre of the length of string, leaving a little space between the top of the dumpling and your knot to allow the pudding to expand.
  11. Place a small plate upside down in the base of your pot, this should be able to withstand heat.
  12. Lift your newly tied clootie dumpling and carefully place it into your pot.
  13. Tie the dumpling to any panhandles on either side using the excess string.
  14. Tip boiling water around your dumpling until the dumpling is submerged up to the knot. Your dumpling may float a little, this is perfectly fine.
  15. Place the lid of your pan on at a slight angle allowing for steam to escape and set the heat to keep the water gently simmering.
  16. Leave to simmer for 3 hours. The water level should cover your dumpling at all times so do add more boiling water to make sure it's completely covered if required.
  17. Once your dumpling is cooked take your colander and place it in your sink. Carefully take your dumpling out of the pot and place it in the colander allowing any excess water to drain off. Make sure you don't move the cloth from the surface of the dumpling at this stage as you may rip the skin.
  18. Preheat your oven to 180°C or 356°F, approx gas mark 4.
  19. Once drained pick the dumpling up by the knot (carefully as it'll be hot) and place on a large chopping board or clean heat proof surface.
  20. Using a sharp knife or scissors and cut the string at the top of the cloot.
  21. Very carefully peel back the cloot from the dumpling. it is crucial at this stage that you don't remove the skin formed by the flour. We used the back of a spoon to help keep the skin attached.
  22. Once the cloot is removed, place your dumpling on your baking tray knot side down and pop it into your oven for 5 -10mins or until the skin has darkened. Don't be tempted to leave it in too long as this can dry out the dumpling.
  23. Serve with custard or cream!

Notes

Here's a couple of additional tips:

Go easy on the flour! Too much loose flour on the cloot at this stage will not stick to the mix or the cloth and create build-ups as it falls down. These taste hard and floury and ruin the thin skin you’re trying to create so make sure the layer is nice and even.

If you have a smaller pot don’t push the dumpling down too much as this may mean skin won’t form where the dumpling is pushed into the plate in the bottom of the pot. It should gently float while keeping the dumpling submerged. It’s a balancing act but is possible!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 131mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 3gSugar: 47gProtein: 5g

You may also like

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

Send this to a friend