o ye famous englishe dessert with ye funnye name. (ok, excuse my poor attempt at pseudo-middle-english; according to wikipedia, spotted dick emerged in the middle of the 19th century, but who can resist? not i.)
it’s been one of those things that i’ve seen on menus in england but have been too chicken to ask for, so when i saw it at the local wegmans (which has, incidentally, become my favorite grocery store), i had to try it, even if it was in a can and cost $5.19 (*shaking fist at the pricey-but-always-tempting imported food aisle*).
to be honest, i had no idea what to expect. “sponge pudding” sounds so vague, and the background picture of the label could be anything.
now mind you, i love raisins and got excited when i saw the list of ingredients, but when i opened the can (THIS END FIRST), i was umm, taken aback:
it did, however, smell quite raisiny! i popped it in the microwave as directed and sat down to eat.
it tasted sort of like it looks, like a rum raisin cake without the rum. the cake (can i call it a cake?), for being steamed, was quite dry, with the only moisture seemingly provided by what i imagine was a prolonged submersion into a raisiny simple syrup. the taste was quite passable (again, as long as you like raisin), but the texture left a lot to be desired. i managed to finish half before tiring of it, thus ending my spotted dick experiment. unless someone tells me that spotted dick is really an amazing dessert whose essence you cannot capture in a can, i will not be ordering this any time soon.
according to the wikipedia article and a recipe it linked to, it looks like you’re supposed to eat it with vanilla custard. i think, actually, that might have helped a lot with the moisture and a reduction in the overpowering raisin taste.
for the record, my favorite steamed cake is (and i had to google this for the chinese, thanks wikipedia) 馬拉糕 (ma laai gou, pronounced like “ma lie go”), aka “Malay Steamed Sponge Cake” which you can get at dim sum restaurants. mmm!