I have a Christmas pudding recipe that calls for suet. This year, I can't find it anywhere. Can I use butter, or something else instead?
Christmas pudding is a cake-like dessert made with flour, eggs, suet, molasses or treacle, spices and dried fruits. The word pudding in this context may mean dessert, which is common usage for the word in the United Kingdom. Christmas pudding is typically served with a caramel or other warm sauce.
For those not familiar with suet, it is the fat of either beef or mutton, usually taken from around the kidneys and loins. It has a whitish, crumbly appearance. In supermarkets, it may be shredded or grated and mixed with a small amount of flour.
According to The Food Substitutions Bible you can substitute equal parts by volume of vegetable shortening, butter, or rendered fat (beef, pork, or chicken) that has been allowed to solidify. Any of these will result in a slightly moister product than if made with suet, but should be acceptable. If you have access to a health food store, or other store catering to vegetarians, you may be able to find a vegetarian alternative.