This is a pudding in the Scottish sense. Dense, dry and chewy. Mistake it for a sweet dessert at your own risk. Bill Cosby would not recognize this as even a distant cousin of his beloved Jello pudding, and I know for a fact it would make a terrible pudding pop. That said, notwithstanding the cup of chopped suet, this is a very healthy addition to any Glaswegian table from the 1880s.
In Mrs. Black's words: "I am going to give you directions for making a simple pudding, which I hope you will like: 1 full teacupful of flour, 1 thick slice of bread grated (there should be a breakfast-cupful), 1 teacupful of chopped suet, 1 table-spoonful of sugar, 1/4 b. of currants, 1/4 lb. of raisins, 1 table-spoonful of either golden syrup or jam, 1 breakfast-cupful of milk, 1/2 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, 1 teaspoonful of ground cinnamon. Wash and dry the currants, pick the raisins, and mix them and all the dry things together, afterwards add the syrup and the milk, and give the whole a good mixing. Butter a pretty large bowl inside, put in the pudding, cover it over with a piece of paper rubbed with a little dripping, and put it into a pot with a very little boiling water in it, to steam for at least one hour and a half.
"This pudding is much improved by having a warm sauce like this served with it. Mix in a little pan 1 teaspoonful of butter, 2 teaspoonfuls of flour, 1 table-spoonful of sugar, and 1 1/2 teacupsful of water--stir it all over the fire till it boils, then pour it over or round the pudding. A doctor writes about the use of suet in some such form as in this pudding -- "That the use of fat would diminish the victims of consumption by nine-tenths, and that the whole secret of the use of Cod Liver Oil is to take the place of fat meats."
Tasty, no? Certainly the cup of suet is the first clue that this is of another era, but if you are honest with yourself, you know you have made desserts with a cup of butter from time to time. Suet is just a bit more, well, savory. The raisins and currents sound yummy, if you are into dried fruit, as I am. It's the scant 2 tablespoons of sweetness (sugar and "golden syrup") that throws me. Though, with all those raisins, it might not be necessary. The sauce sounds pretty dreadful though. As an alternative, might I suggest what is the tradition at our house - douse the whole thing in Bacardi 151, light a match and flame the sucker. Serve with sweetened whipped cream, or Devonshire cream. Much better, yes? Especially knowing that you are staving off the possibility of coming down with consumption through the use of all that suet. It's a win, win!