Suet is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys.Suet has a melting point of between 45°C and 50°C (113°F and 122°F) and congelation between 37°C and 40°C. (98.6°F and 104°F). Its high smoke point makes it ideal for deep frying and pastry production.
The primary use of suet is to make tallow, although it is also used as an ingredient in cooking, especially in traditional puddings, such as British Christmas Pudding. Suet is made into tallow in a process called rendering, which involves melting and extended simmering, followed by straining, cooling and usually by repeating the entire process. Unlike tallow, suet that is not pre-packed requires refrigeration in order to be stored for extended periods.
Suet is essential in traditional British steamed puddings, and in the pastry for steak and kidney pudding, in which a pudding bowl is lined with the suet crust pastry, the meat added and a lid of suet crust tightly seals the meat. The pudding is then steamed for approximately four hours before serving in the bowl on the table. Suet pastry is soft in contrast to the crispness of shortcrust pastry. Suet is also an ingredient of traditional mincemeat (fruit mince). In recipes calling for suet, there is no substitute fat that may be used.Suet should not be confused with beef dripping, which is the collected fat and juices from the roasting pan when cooking roast beef. Suet should also not be confused with all beef or sheep fat. It is normally the fat found around the heart and kidneys of cattle and sheep, and nowhere else in the animals.
Suet can be bought in natural form in many supermarkets. As it is the fat from around the kidneys, the connective tissue, blood and other non-fat items must be removed. It then needs to be coarsely grated to make it ready to use. It must be kept refrigerated prior to use and used within a few days of purchase, just like meat.
Vegetable suet is available in supermarkets, made from fat such as palm oil combined with rice flour. It resembles shredded beef suet, and is used as a vegetarian substitute in recipes, but with slightly different results from animal suet.
teak and kidney pudding
Sussex Pond Pudding
Suet Crust Pastry
Clootie Dumpling (Scottish)
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