A classic English Christmas plum pudding, says paulj, is made with suet. This is a crumbly textured fat cut from beef kidneys. The little lumps of suet melt in the steamed pudding, creating a porous texture and imparting an unmistakable flavor. “Without the suet, the pudding would be dense like fruitcake,” says paulj.
The best place to get suet in the United States, says Caroline1, is from an independent butcher that specializes in dry-aged beef, or that at least carries dry-aged beef. “It is traditionally considered the best kind of suet,” says Caroline1. “It doesn’t come in a brand. Just out of the carcass!” Failing that, any butcher will likely be able to procure some suet for you. Even well-stocked grocery stores sometimes have it—especially if they’re in Canada.
Vegetarians have few good options when it comes to making authentic steamed pudding. Butter and coconut oil lack the crumbly texture of real suet, and have their own characteristic flavors. In the UK, vegetarian suet substitute is available on supermarket shelves, says Harters. It looks and works like the real thing, but good luck finding it in American grocery stores.
Board Link: Vegetarian Suet?