Winter Pudding

Ingredients

  • 12 oz / 340 g mixed dried fruit
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 6 grinds fresh nutmeg
  • 3 in / 7.5 cm strip of lemon peel
  • 2 pt / 1.45 l Earl Grey or other fragrant tea
  • 6–8 slices of wholemeal bread, crusts removed
  • thick Greek yoghurt or double cream
  • toasted hazelnuts or almonds

Method

Cut the fruit into smaller pieces and remove any stones. Gently poach the fruit, spices and peel in the tea until the fruit is plumped up and tender. (If it is more convenient, soak the fruit in the tea overnight to cut down on cooking time.) Strain the fruit, discard the spices and peel, and reserve the cooking liquid.

Cut each slice of bread into two wedge-shaped pieces, dip them in the cooking juices, and use about two-thirds of the bread to line a pudding basin. Spoon the fruit into the lined basin, place the remaining bread on top to fit as a cover, and pour on more cooking juices to moisten the bread thoroughly. Cover with foil and weight down with a heavy object. Cool, then refrigerate overnight until required. When ready to serve, turn the pudding out on to a shallow dish. Pour on more juice if there are any dry patches, and then spread the pudding with yoghurt or pour cream over it before sprinkling toasted nuts over the surface.

Variation

For an early summer pudding, use white bread, and instead of the dried fruit mixture, fill the pudding with a delicious gooseberry and elderflower compote. Make this by cooking 2 lb / 900 g topped and tailed gooseberries with 1–2 heads of washed elderflowers in Β½ pt / 280 ml water until the fruit is soft. Sweeten to taste, then sieve, letting the syrup trickle into a bowl. Use this to moisten the bread, and fill the pudding with the gooseberries and elderflower pulp.