SUMMER PUDDING

My little plot is bursting at the seams and we have been enjoying freshly dug ‘Pink Fir Apple ‘ potatoes, courgettes, tiny peas, gorgeously beautiful Swiss chard, spinach, tiny broad beans and more. My favourite herbs; dill, coriander and mint are all set for plot domination and ready to be picked by the handful. Fresh dill for salmon, cheesey dips and for a fresh ‘pickle’ with cucumber; fresh coriander to liven up a chicken and mango curry and fresh mint for some delicious chickpea falafels -(take a look at my recipe for this) and to add to elderflower fizz or gin and tonic at the end of the day. How lovely to see what fruit and vegetables are ready and then think of ways to use them rather than starting with a recipe and going to buy the ingredients. It is a much more creative process dictated by the seasons and the prepared dishes are all the better for it. I know I’m lucky to have a vegetable garden but even some spicy salad leaves grown in a pot taste so much better than any bought ones and they are much cheaper!

Today I spied these wonderful, glistening redcurrants and I knew it was time to make…..Summer Pudding. Aptly named as it is made with lots of summer fruits that are at their best now.

Beautiful berries from my garden
Beautiful berries from my garden

This pudding is the quintessential taste of summer and all the more special for being made just once a year. Serve it in small slices, as the flavour is quite strong and lots of double cream. Don’t be tempted to go for a healthier option such as Crème Fraiche-this pudding needs cream and after all it is a once a year treat!

My gorgeous summer pudding

You can make one large pudding with this recipe or approx. 6 small ones. The small ones look lovely but are a bit of a fiddle to make.

 

Serves 6

Start the night before.

 

900g mixed summer fruit*

Approx. 9/10 slices white, day old, quality, white, sliced, bread

Approx. 4 tbsp. unrefined caster sugar**(to taste)

A little water

To serve: double cream

  1. Reserve some of the fruit for the top of the pudding. Put 3 tbsp. of water in a pan and add the sugar to this-stir until dissolved-by doing this first you can avoid over stirring the fruit and breaking it up. Add the fruit and briefly turn it with the water/sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a few minutes and then take off the heat and allow to cool. Try not to overcook it or break up the fruits. Taste again and add more sugar if necessary but don’t make it too sweet.
  2. Cut the crusts off the bread. For the large summer pudding use an 850 litre pudding basin (1½ pt.) and line with cling film leaving the excess to hang over the edges. If you want to make the small ones do the same with small dariole moulds. You can buy foil moulds quite easily or you could use a ramekin or small teacup. If you prefer not to use cling film cut out a circle of bread to fit neatly into the bottom and grease the bowl/moulds with a tiny amount of butter. Cut the rest of the slices into 3 from the short edge or to the height of the moulds. Use them to line the basin/moulds, overlapping them slightly as you go around making a ‘case’ for the fruit. Gently push them together. Reserve some bread to make a ‘lid’.
  3. Using a slotted spoon fill the basin/moulds with the fruit adding a little of the juice. Put the ‘lid’ on add a little more juice –you should still have enough to pour over the puddings after you turn it out.
  4. Cover with a plate and use some weights or cans of food to weigh it down. For the smaller moulds I put a ramekin on top and filled it with loose change-it worked really well! Put in the fridge and leave overnight.
  5. To turn the pudding/s out onto a serving plate, gently pull at the cling film and then up turn it onto the plate. Carefully remove all the film. If you are not using this run a thin flexible knife around the top and sides, without breaking the sides, put the plate on top and then quickly flip it over. Use the left over juices to pour over, covering any white patches. Don’t do this ahead of time as it will collapse eventually.  Decorate with the reserved fruit.
  6. Serve at room temperature with double cream and extra sugar if required.

 

*The choice of fruit is important with raspberries and redcurrants being the main ingredients. I like to add some blackcurrants but take care with these as they can overpower the more delicate flavours. I use them in the following proportions 500g rasps, 250g redcurrants and 150g blackcurrants. You can use blackberries, blueberries, cherries etc. if you wish, avoid strawberries as they make it too watery.

**If you wish you can use a powdered sugar substitute such a Canderal for this.

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