Cloutie Dumpling (Clootie)

An authentic Scottish recipe from Named for the cloth (cloutie) in which it was traditionally wrapped before cooking.


- 4 oz shredded suet ( or margarine for a lighter dumpling)
- 8 oz flour
- 4 oz oatmeal
- 3 oz sugar
- heaped teaspoon baking powder
- 8 oz mixed dried fruit (currants,sultanas,raisins)
- teaspoon ground cinnamon
- teaspoon mixed spice
- teaspoon golden syrup (or corn syrup in USA)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons buttermilk (or plain milk)


At Christmas, cooks often wrapped small coins (in the old days a silver three-penny piece was popular) in greaseproof paper and placed them in the dumpling. If you do add coins, warn those eating the dumpling later so as to avoid broken teeth!

  • Sift the flour and rub in the fat (suet or margarine) in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add all the other dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the syrup and eggs and mix well.
  • Add enough buttermilk to make a soft but firm batter.
There are two choices of container.
1. The traditional way is with a cotton cloth. Dip it in boiling water to cleanse, then flour it well before adding the mixture. Tie the top, but make sure there is room for expansion (this is the clootie). Place a small plate in the bottom of a saucepan and stand the packed clootie on top. Cover with boiling water and simmer gently for 3 hours.
2. The alternative is to use an 8-cup basin or pudding steamer, lightly greased with melted butter. Allow a one inch space at the top for expansion. Cover the steamer or basin with a greased sheet of paper/foil and pour boiling water into the steamer till it is three-quarters up the side. Simmer for 3 hours.
Whichever method you chose above -
. . . now turn out the dumpling and leave to cool to a shiny finish.
Some serve it straight away (hot) with custard.
Some wait till it is cool and serve with cream and/or brandy butter (like Christmas pudding).

Recipe listing . .