Summer pudding


I make this every summer – usually when we have a glut of raspberries and red currants but any mixture of red and purple fruit will do. I sometimes add blueberries or blackcurrants. Next week I have some blackberries to use. Obviously you can also make it at other times of the year using frozen fruit.

It’s really easy but takes 24 hours before it’s ready.

Start by putting the fruit into a pan with a little sugar – not too much because you want the results to be quite tangy – and a little water so that it doesn’t burn before cooking and so that you’ll have some juice. (The only bit of this stage I dislike is ‘stringing’ red currants to remove the stalks; try to have something to listen to or someone to talk to while you work.) I use a bowl of raspberries, a bowl of redcurrants, and a bowl of whatever else I have. Simmer until the berries have burst but try not to make jam. Leave to cool.

Take at least half a loaf of sliced light white bread (for UK readers I use what we call Danish) and remove the crusts. Preserve as much bread as possible because you’ll need it. (For anyone feeling concerned about waste, leave the crusts to dry and turn into breadcrumbs.)

Find a deepish bowl. I use a ‘Pyrex’ one so that I can see what’s going on. Make sure it’s one that is big enough in diameter to take a saucer, perhaps half way up. Use tongs, if you have them, and dip the bread in the juice of the fruit, one slice at a time. Only one side needs to soak up juice. Place in the bowl, juicy side out, till the bowl is coated. Now use a slotted spoon and spoon the fruit, but not the rest of the juice, into the bread coating. Top with more bread, again dipped in juice. If there isn’t much juice left you can pour it over the bread. Don’t go mad – you’re better off keeping extra juice to pour later.

Now place something on top – I use cling film – and let it overhang the top of the bowl then weight that down with a saucer. Put something really heavy on top of the saucer e.g. a large full jar or tin.

Put the bowl in a cool place. There’s nothing wrong with the fridge but you don’t need to take up fridge room if you have a cool pantry.

Roughly 24 hours later, remove the weight, saucer and cling film. Find a plate that is bigger than the bowl. Use a knife or spatula to loosen the pudding then invert the bowl over the plate. The best way to do that is to place the plate on top then invert the entire thing. The pudding should slide out so that you have a deep red/pink dome.

Serve with cream, yoghurt or ice cream (or a non-dairy equivalent). You really need that bland taste to cut through the tanginess I mentioned.

Enjoy. Leftovers (there are only two of us, so that depends on your household) will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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