Saturday 5 October 2013

Clootie Dumpling Week

We have blogged before about our overwhelming love for The Great British Bake Off and it was, let's be honest, completely irrelevant to the archive. We just loved it. (We were early adopters! First Series!) But, imagine our joy when pastry week rolled round and the historical section concentrated upon the Clootie Dumpling.

The show may have gone to the isle of Mull to find out more, but the Clootie Dumpling is very well known in Orkney as these recipes taken from our Orkney Room collection will testify.


( Birsay S.W.R.I's version, 1979).


(Deerness S.W.R.I's version, no date).

( Taken from 'Favourite Recipes - Sandwick W.R.I. 1976).

(Orkney Hospitals' Recipe Book, 1984).

As you can see, the ingredients vary from Parish to Parish and kitchen to kitchen, but all end with the spiced and fruited dough being boiled in a scalded cloth or 'cloot' which has been generously coated with flour.

It made us laugh that it was deemed necessary to include four recipes from the two hospital kitchens which contributed. They obviously just could not decide which one was the best. Picture the scene:

Chef #1: "We cannat hae a recipe book withoot clootie damplin' in!".

Chefs #2,#3 and #4: "No indeed!".

Chef#1:(licking pencil) "Noo. To begin, tak 4 oonces o' margarine...".

Chefs#2, #3 and #4: "WHAAT!!!!!???????".


  1. The clootie dumplin' sounds good! It reminds me of Schnitzbrodt, a recipe that my grandmother brought to the US from her hometown of Gemmrigheim, Germany. The bread (brodt = bread) is made with currants, raisins, dates, figs, prunes and prune juice, nuts, and aside from that, standard bread ingredients. Oh--and brandy!

    What is "SR flour"? it appears in several of the recipes for clootie dumpling. I could look it up on the internet, I suppose, but I'd rather ask a real person.


  2. Boozy, fruity, nutty bread? Yes please!

    SR flour means self-raising flour Sue. It is plain flour with a bit of baking powder (raising agent) already added to it.

  3. Oh, yes, the boozie fruity nutty bread is YUMMY! and it is bread, not fruitcake. I have to knead it by hand, because enough dough to make 2 loaves weighs about 7 lbs, and is too much for a regular household mixer! But I love knowing that my grandmother's mom used to make this, and probably it was done for generations before that.

    Well, the answer to the SR Flour sure seems obvious! >_< Oh, well. I usually use regular flour, so that's a good excuse not to have recognized it, right? ^_^


  4. Funnily enough, my recipe for dumpling, which I make every year at Hallowe'en, comes from Orkney. A friend gave me the recipe from a fundraising church book she had from when she was young. She came from Orkney. I love dumpling!


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