Summer pudding is striking, simple and delicious. But not hugely photogenic!
It is an old-fashioned British dessert that makes use of stale bread and summer berries and I remember eating it as a child. Very little is needed in way of preparation but it is best if left to stand in the fridge for at least six hours, and if possible, overnight.
You line a pudding basin with bread, fill it with berries heated with a little sugar, cover it with more bread and put a weight on top. The juice will soak through the bread to create an amazingly vibrant purple dessert that can be cut and served. Ideally the berries are still quite tart and it is very refreshing on a hot summer’s day. If you like things sweeter, just add more sugar.
6-8 slices of white bread, crusts removed
600g of summer berries, either fresh or frozen, eg blackcurrants, raspberries, redcurrants, loganberries, strawberries, blueberries
Line the pudding basin with the bread, making sure that there are no gaps. Save a piece to make a lid.
Heat the berries with the sugar until they are juicy. If you are using any strawberries, add these immediately prior to putting the fruit into the pudding basin rather than heating them.
Save a few tablespoons of the juice and keep refrigerated until ready to serve the pudding.
Put the fruit into the prepared pudding basin: it should fill it right to the top.
Then add your bread lid, again making sure that there are no gaps. It doesn’t need to be particularly neat:
You then need to find a plate or saucer that fits the top of the pudding basin, place it on top of the pudding and weight it down:
The bread is not all purple yet but it doesn’t matter as it needs to go into the fridge for at least six hours. During that time it will soak through the rest of the bread and any that isn’t purple by the time you come to serve it can be soaked with the reserved juice.
When ready, remove the plate and weights and go round the sides of the pudding bowl with a knife to loosen it. Place the bowl or plate you are using to serve it in on top of the pudding and invert. Carefully lift off the pudding basin: it should come out in one piece. Use the reserved juice to soak any remaining white bits or just drizzle over the top and around the sides.
The pudding will cut into slices and is delicious served either on its own or with ice cream, cream, natural yogurt or créme fraîche.
I made this at my mum and dad’s using my mum’s own homemade bread (a lot of it didn’t make it to the pudding…) and berries from their garden. We used a selection of blueberries, blackcurrants, loganberries and raspberries, all of which had come from their garden, some from the freezer from last year and some freshly picked, along with a few store bought strawberries. My mum’s top tip is to use at least some frozen fruit as it yields more juice.
We ate it in the garden – a true taste of summer.
I took some photos outside but it was so sunny that the pudding actually looks quite scary in the pictures, I think! This is the least scary one of how it looks when you cut into it: