Highland Park Clootie Dumpling

If you’re searching for an amazing dessert with an Orkney flavour to wow your guests at a dinner table then our Highland Park Clootie Dumpling is well worth a try! George o’Neill, Sous Chef on MV Hamnavoe offers us his take on a beautiful traditional Orcadian pudding.

If you’re searching for an amazing dessert with an Orkney flavour to wow your guests at a dinner table, then our Highland Park Clootie Dumpling is well worth a try.


  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 100g Suet
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 75g Sultanas
  • 75g Currants
  • 75g Dates
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Red apple
  • 1 Whole egg
  • 150g Buttermilk
  • 30ml Highland park whisky
  • 1 tbsp Black treacle
Highland Park Clootie Dumpling
Tasting Highland Park Clootie Dumpling photo © Copyright Victoria Dixon


  1. Sieve 225g of the plain flour into a large bowl along with the bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, cinnamon and ginger.
  2. Add 150g of the caster sugar, along with the suet and salt. Chop the dates roughly and add to the bowl, along with the sultanas and currants. Grate the carrot and red apple into the bowl. Give everything a good mix together with a wooden spoon.
  3. In a small jug, crack the egg and whisk, add the buttermilk, whisk again, then add the Highland Park whisky, the black treacle and give the wet ingredients a final whisk. Mix the wet ingredients from the jug with the dry ingredients in the bowl. Bring everything together with a wooden spoon.
  4. Put a heatproof plate in the bottom of a large pan, ¾ fill with water put onto the stove on a medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. It is essential to put a heatproof plate in the bottom of the plate to prevent the pudding from being in direct contact with the heat source.
  5. Prepare your cloth for the pudding, an old pillowcase works best. Using scissors cut the pillowcase up so that you have one rectangle piece of fabric. Dip the fabric in the simmering water, using tongs, squeeze the fabric, until all the excess water is removed. Lay the fabric flat on a work surface. Dust the topside of the fabric completely with the remaining plain flour and caster sugar. It is essential to soak the cloth with boiling water and cover the surface area with flour and sugar; this ensures that the pudding is sealed in the cloth whilst cooking and that the cloth can be removed from the pudding easily.
  6. Give your pudding another thorough mix with the wooden spoon, then add the mix in the centre of the cloth, bring the four corners of the fabric together to create a dumpling shape, ensuring there is no holes (to prevent any water getting into the pudding). Tie tightly with string but leave a little room to allow the pudding to expand during cooking.
  7. Add your ‘clootie’ dumpling to the pan of simmering water and cover with a lid. Cook the pudding for three and half hours. Every half an hour, check the pan water level and top up with warm (to keep the temperature consistent) water occasionally to ensure the pudding is fully submerged in simmering water at all times.
  8. After three and half hours cooking, pre-heat your oven at 180°c. Remove the pudding from the pan, using a large spoon and a tea cloth, being careful as the pudding will be very hot. Then briefly plunge the pudding into a large bowl of cold water. Plunging the cooked pudding into cold water briefly will make removing the pudding from the cloth easier and ensure the pudding doesn’t break up.
  9. Remove the pudding from the cold water onto a work surface. Cut the string and gently remove the cloth from the pudding. Put the Clootie Dumpling onto a baking tray and place into the preheated oven for five minutes to dry the pudding out. Baking the cooked pudding in the oven also form a skin around the pudding, creating a professional finish.
  10. Remove the pudding from the oven then cover with a clean tea towel and allow to cool slightly, before cutting into eight equal portions. Enjoy!
George O'NeillBy George O’Neill
Chef from Aberdeen who considers himself very lucky to live and work in the beautiful Orkney islands. When on leave from the ship, George enjoys cooking for family and friends and hanging out with his wonderful daughter, Eva.

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Header image: A slice of Highland Park Clootie Dumpling photo © Copyright Victoria Dixon