Spotted dick and Earl Grey tea custard

British classic: Spotted dick with Earl Grey custard.
British classic: Spotted dick with Earl Grey custard. Photo: Quentin Jones

We have a pastry chef friend, Emma Mackay, to thank for this wonderful combination of pudding, custard and classic tea. The fragrant tea is perfect with the brandy-soaked currants.


130g currants

30ml brandy

250g butter, soft

300g castor sugar

230ml milk

½ vanilla pod, split

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

375g plain flour

3 eggs


300ml milk

1 heaped tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves

6 egg yolks

100g castor sugar

250ml pouring cream


Pre-heat oven to 160C. Cover currants with boiling water and add brandy. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Bring milk and vanilla to the boil in a saucepan. Add bicarbonate of soda and allow to fizz. Add flour and milk alternately to butter mixture. Add eggs then stir through drained currants.

Pour into greased pudding bowl or baking dish. Put in a baking tray and fill tray with hot water to two centimetres up the sides of the bowl.

Bake for one hour or until risen and cooked in the centre.

For the custard, put milk and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Whisk together yolks and sugar in a bowl.

Strain milk into a saucepan, discard tea leaves, add cream and bring to a simmer. Add to yolks and whisk together.

Return to saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 25 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer and chill in the fridge.