I mentioned this to my Mum the other day, and she remembered that my Granny's recipe had been printed in a little recipe booklet over thirty years ago.
Unlike me, my Mum knows where to find things.
Here's the booklet (printed in 1979 to raise funds for a school at which the typist's husband was Headteacher)
Here's her recipe.
2 lb plain flour (all purpose flour, I think, in the US)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb marg
2 lb dried fruit
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tblsp treacle
1 1/2 tblsp syrup
2 grated apples
a little milk
Rub margarine into flour and add dry ingredients.
Add treacle, syrup, beaten egg and sufficient milk to give a fairly stiff consistency.
Rinse cloth in boiling water. Sprinkle liberally with flour.
Pour mixture into cloth and tie it up securely.
Boil for 3-4 hours. Keep adding plenty boiling water. Halfway through, turn the dumpling over.
Note: Place a plate in the pan under the 'duff'.
At the top of the page, my mum has written, 'My mother's Clootie duff'.
At the bottom, the lady who gave Mum the booklet wrote, 'Nanag's recipe' (Nanag was what my granny was known as. Most people from Ness were known by some name, or nickname, that distinguished them from everyone else in the district with the same names...of which there would be quite a number!) After all, variety in names wasn't a strong point of Lewis families.
Clearly, we felt the need to carry on with that tradition.
I reckon I'll make a 'duff' some day soon. If I do, I'll let y'all know how it goes.
Unless it doesn't 'go'. And then I'll deny all knowledge of ever having attempted it.