I was brought up on suet puddings. My grandmother used to make great steak & kidney suet puddings in her saucepan, with the pudding basin wrapped in muslin and string bubbling away for hours on her stove top.
I’ve rarely got the need to make huge quantities of suet dumplings, and measuring out enough mix, each time, is a bit of a nuisance, so I’ve always made my own suet dumpling mix – ready in the cupboard to simply spoon out on demand.
Atora is the main UK brand for suet – but any supermarket brand of suet is just as good, so don’t think this is the only name that works.
I make most dumplings in the microwave these days – they only take 3 minutes, it’d take that long to get the flour and suet out of the cupboard and weigh them out each time! By using my own suet dumpling mix I’ve made from scratch it saves this time, so is plain common sense. The beauty of this dumpling mix there’s not much “from scratch” to be done at all. Just opening two packets, depending on pack size.
Suet pastry is made in a simple ratio of 2 parts flour to 1 part suet (by weight), with a pinch of salt. And that’s it! That’s then mixed with some cold water until it binds and you’ve got instant dumplings. This isn’t a “cheat”, this is how they’ve always been made, so you’re not skimping on quality or anything.
Ingredients and Equipment:
- A lidded plastic storage box to keep your dumpling mix in – I use the Click N Lock style boxes.
- A box of suet. You can use regular, beef, suet, or vegetarian suet. Your choice.
- Self-raising flour. Or plain flour with bicarbonate of soda. Plain flour in the UK is known as all purpose flour in the US. Any one of these choices will work equally.
- Look at the suet packet -how many grams are in it? Atora suet used to be 250grams, but they reduced it to 200grams a few years back. It used to be easier when the suet box contained 250grams and the flour came in a 500gram bag!
- Tip all the suet into your lidded box.
- Weigh out double that amount in flour (200 grams of suet to 400 grams of flour). If you’re using plain flour and adding bicarbonate of soda or baking powder then add in two teaspoons of that too.
- Tip all the flour (and bicarb/baking powder) into the lidded container.
- Add a very generous pinch of salt or two into the container.
- Now mix it all up – you can do this by spooning it around, or by fixing the lid on (securely) and giving it all a good shake.
That’s it – that’s your dumpling mix. I will point out, for clarity, that this mix is DRY. You don’t add the water until you’re ready to use the dry mix.
To make dumplings, all you need to do each time is grab that box, open it and give the contents a good stir (to ensure they’re still mixed well) and spoon out as much as you need (by eye) for the number of dumplings you want to make! Then add water slowly to bring it into a dough. Just drop your dumplings into the top of your stew 20 minutes before the end!