Flummery is an old word for a type of sweet dish, which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “A name given to various sweet dishes made with milk, flour, eggs, etc.”

Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) is more precise on the subject of Scots flummery. It is “a kind of steamed custard”.  Scots flummery appeared in menus from the 1500s onwards, but DSL gives just one from Elizabeth Cleland’s 1759 A New and Easy Method of Cookery: “To make Scots Flummery. Take a mutchkin of Milk, and one of Cream; beat the Yolks of nine Eggs, with a little Rose-water, Sugar and Nutmeg; put it in a Dish, and the Dish over a Pan of boiling Water covered closs [close]; when it begins to grow thick, have ready some Currants plumped in Sack [wine], and strew over it. It must not be stirred while it is over the Fire, and, when it is pretty stiff, send it up hot”. DSL is very useful as a cookery book too The necessary starch was traditionally obtained from the sid (inner husk) of oatmeal.

Much later, the following pudding suggestions for a Burns’ Supper in the Aberdeen Press and Journal of January 1930 shows Scots flummery was still going strong: “For the pudding or sweet you could have Scots marmalade pudding, Scots flummery, whipt sillabubs, whim-wham, prune flory or apple puddings in skins”. It would be interesting to know what “whim-wham” or “prune flory” were, but a quick search online today still finds several recipes for Scots flummery.

Scots Word of the Week comes from Dictionaries of the Scots Language. Visit DSL Online at https://dsl.ac.uk.