Summer Pudding

A classic taste of late summer, this is one of the few dishes which uses sliced white bread to advantage. I don't know anybody who does not love a summer pudding, which is one of the few English desserts admired by French and Italians alike. You should only make it when berries are both abundant and cheap, and pote that a proper summer pudding should never include strawberries. Remember also that it has to be made at least the day before it is needed and is better for two or three days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 slightly stale good-quality sliced white loaf
  • 225g/½ lb redcurrants
  • 225g/½ lb blackcurrants
  • 225g/½ lb white currants
  • 225g/½ lb raspberries
  • 225g/½ lb blackberries (brambles)
  • 225g/½ lb coster sugar

Utensils

  • large saucepan
  • 20cm / 8in diameter fat-bottomed mould, basin or soufflé dish
  • Swiss roll pan
  • plate or round wooden board which just fits Inside the top of the mould, basin or soufflé dish
  • palette knife

Method

Mise en Place

Remove the crusts from the slices of bread.

Cooking

Put all the fruit except the raspberries and blackberries in a pan with the sugar and bring to a bare simmer over low heat Cook for 10 minutes until you have a very liquid mixture. Remove from the heat, stir in the raspberries and blackberries and put to cool.

Line the mould with the bread, cutting the bread slices in half for the sides and into triangles for the bottom.

Spoon in the cooled fruit mixture to fill the mould right to the top. If you do not have enough fruit, then add more raspberries. Finally, cut more bread triangles to cover the top of the bowl (which will be the base when turned out).

Stand the bowl in the Swiss roll pan and put the plate or round board on top. Weight this down with about 1.8kg/4lb of cans and chill in the fridge for 24 hours, removing from time to time and pouring over any remaining fruit syrup. The bread should not be recognizable as a separate entity by the end of the process, but be amalgamated with the fruit Should you have any fruit mixture left over at the end of the process, freeze it to use as a coulis for another dish.

Next day, remove the pudding from the fridge and take off the plate or board. Slip a palette knife round the inside of the bowl, being careful not to puncture the outer surface. Put a serving plate on top and, holding the mould tight to the plate, invert Tap the bottom sharply and lift away the mould to reveal the summer pudding, standing proud and brilliantly coloured.

Serving

Serve with Devon clotted cream or crème fraîche.

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