Suet is the hard fat that surrounds the kidneys and loins of beef or mutton. It’s commonly used in traditional boiled or steamed sweet puddings, like Christmas puddings and Jam Roly-Polys as well as pastry and savoury English dumplings that are usually served with stews. Suet pastry is also used to make the famous Steak and Kidney pudding (kind of like a meat pie that is steamed in a pudding basin rather than baked).
When used in pastry for pies, it creates a flaky crust that has a crisp texture. The pastry also is a bit easier to work with and more absorbent. It’s perfect for recipes with a runnier sauce/gravy as it’s just easily absorbed into the crust.
While it is less popular these days for sweet dishes, it does add a lovely richness without tasting “beefy”. Because of this, it’s also used in traditional mincemeat (or fruit mince) recipes. While butter is commonly used these days, suet does add a rich, silky mouth-feel. Due to the high fat content – it’s 100% fat while butter is usually about 80% fat – a mincemeat made with suet will usually keep longer.
HOW TO PREPARE SUET FOR BAKING
At Meat at Billy’s we coarsely mince the raw, whole pieces of fat to make it easier to handle. To prepare it for baking, melt the suet gently in a saucepan. Once melted, strain the liquid through a sieve into a dish or tray lined with baking paper. Allow the suet to solidify in the fridge or freezer.
Once solid, grate the it into small pieces. It’s now ready to use in your baking.
TIP: Treat as you would meat, keep it in the fridge and use it within a few days grating. The rendered Suet can be frozen again either in a solid piece or grated.
Keen to try baking with suet? Check out some of these recipes for inspiration.