Scottish Dumpling

When the Cake Baker team received a request for a Scottish Dumpling recipe we sprang into action!

Cloutie Dumpling

Traditionally served at New Year it has became popular throughout the winter or colder months of the year. Sometimes spelt “cloutie” it is named after the cloth or “clout” that it is boiled in. This recipe has many variants and is often handed down from generation to generation.

We did our research and this is what we found out:

  • Scottish Dumpling is a traditional dish, sometimes called cloutie or clootie – or any variation!
  • It is named after the cloth or ‘clout’ in which it is traditionally boiled.
  • Like Christmas Pudding, it is usually served as a dessert.
  • Any left over can be sliced and fried for breakfast the following day.
  • At Special Occasions, like Hogmanay and birthdays, it was the custom to hide coins in the mixture, preferably silver three-penny bits.
  • It is often served on Burns’ Night after the haggis, neeps and tatties.
  • In 2003 a survey of Scots included it in the top ten of national dishes.
  • The true dumpling needs suet, but margarine, butter or vegetable suet can be used instead.
  • Buttermilk, wine and brandy are all possible contenders for the liquid but, whatever you choose, a drop of whisky will give it that extra authentic Scottish flavour!

First Steps

Before you begin, you will need to boil your cloth for a few minutes. Squeeze it out, then spread it on a table and dredge all over lightly with flour. (The flour will help create the authentic skin on the pudding.)


  • 110g (4oz) shredded suet
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 110g (4oz) oatmeal or breadcrumbs
  • 75g (3oz) sugar
  • Rounded teaspoon baking powder
  • 225g (8oz) mixed currants/sultanas/raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon golden syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 tablespoon buttermilk


  • Beat the syrup into the eggs. (Heating the spoon first makes the syrup slip off it easily.)
  • Sieve the flour, spices and baking powder into a bowl; add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Tip the mixture onto your cloth and bring up the four corners to make a Dick Whittington-type bag.
  • Shape the mixture into a round. Alternatively lay the cloth over a pudding bowl before putting the mixture in: this will help create a shape.
  • Tie up tightly with string, leaving space at the top – about another quarter of its size – for the pudding to expand. Pat it again into a nice shape.
  • Put the pudding on a thick old plate inside a large saucepan. Cover the pudding with boiling water; put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer gently for about 3 hours.
  • Check the water level regularly and top up with more boiling water as necessary.
  • When it’s cooked, lift the pudding carefully from the pan and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before untying the string and gently peeling away the cloth.


  • Slice the clootie and serve with brandy or whisky butter, cream or hot custard.
  • If you want to have coins in your pudding, wrap them in greaseproof paper before adding to the uncooked mixture, or for a birthday – this is the cunning way – add it to the birthday child’s serving in the dish. But be sure to warn your guests before they eat unless you want the bill for a broken tooth!

You Might Like to Try…

Orkney chef, Alan Craigie, mixes chunks of leftover dumpling with a real chocolate custard sauce that he then freezes to make a parfait. Mm, tasty.

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