Summer Pudding

A no bake dessert is great for summer, particularly when full of juicy fruits and berries.

Summer Pudding is a traditional British dessert which was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  It is still made today, though not so often.  That is a bit of a surprise since it is a perfect dessert for a warm summer day.

The pudding is very simple to make, as it is simply soft summer fruits, white bread and some sugar.
The fruits are heated a little, with the sugar to release lots of sweet juice.  Then the bread is dipped into the juice and is then used to line a pudding basin or bowl.  The fruit is then packed into the bowl and more bread is laid on top to fully enclose the fruit.  Then a weighted plate is placed on the bread to compress and compact the pudding.  It is chilled for at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight, before being turned out onto a serving plate.  It is usually served with cream or ice-cream to make the pefect dessert.

Precisely which fruits to use is dependent on taste, but usually it is a combination of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and cherries, and sometimes blueberries too.

For mine I couldn’t  obtain blackcurrant or redcurrants, but I had all the others, so that is what I made use of.  My recipe calls for 1kg, or 2.2lbs of the fruit in whatever combination is desired.  That may actually be more fruit than is needed for 1 litre bowl, but it does depend to some extent on how soft the fruit is and how compacted it becomes.  But the leftover fruit that I had was perfect to be eaten with my porridge for breakfast.

For the bread it is usual to use white bread.  For mine I simply bought a cheap white loaf of bread, quite thinly sliced.  But any white bread, such as brioche would work very well too.

Another ideal dessert for summer is Lemon Posset, a thick set cream flavoured with lemon.  So silky smooth.

Summer Pudding
Summer Pudding 
Summer Pudding – Video
Ingredients:
  • 800g (28 oz)of mixed summer fruits(raspberries, blackberries, pitted cherries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.) washed and gently dried.
  • 200g (7 oz)strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into pieces if they are large.
  • 8 slices of white bread, at least one day old
  • 150g(3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar
  • finely grated zest of one orange
  • juice from 1/2 an orange.

Method:

  1. Grease the inside of a 1 litre (or about 1 US quart) bowl.
  2. Line the bowl with a double layer of plastic wrap leaving a large overhang that can later be used to cover the top.
  3. Cut the crusts off the bread.
  4. Slice 7 of the slices diagonally into two triangles.
  5. Cut a circle out of the 8th slice that is large enough to cover the base of the bowl.
  6. Place the sugar and orange zest and juice into a large pan and gently heat to dissolve together.
  7. Add the 800g of fruit and heat gently until the juices are released, don’t stir too much or the fruit may begin to disintegrate.
  8. When a good amount of juice has been released, after about 5 minutes probably, pour the fruit into a strainer allowing the juices to drain into a bowl.
  9. Dip the circle of bread into the juice and place it coated side down into the bottom of the bowl.
  10. Dip each triangle of bread into the juice and press the coated side into the side of the bowl,  overlapping the triangles slightly and patching any gaps until the bowl is fully lined. Allow the bread to be slightly above the rim of the bowl. You wont need all the triangle to line the bowl, the excess with be used for the top of the bowl.
  11. Stir the strawberries into the strained fruit and then spoon it into the lined bowl, pressing down to compact it.
  12. When the bowl is full of fruit dip the remaining triangles of bread and place them, uncoated side down,  onto the fruit tucking in the bread that is above the top of the bowl.
  13. When then fruit is fully enclosed by the bread use the overhanging plastic wrap to cover the top.
  14. Place a saucer or plate which has a diameter smaller than the bowl, if possible, or at least has a dip in it, onto the top of the pudding.
  15. Retain the excess juice for later.  Use any excess fruit for breakfast or other purposes.
  16. Place a heavy weight, such as canned food or jars of jam, onto the plate and refrigerate the pudding weight down for at least 6 hours, and preferably overnight.
  17. Remove the pudding from the fridge and cut away the plastic wrap from the top.
  18. Place a large serving plate top side down on the pudding and turn it over.
  19. Gently lift and shake the pudding bowl to release the pudding(if necessary carefully slide an icing spatula down the inside of the bowl to help) onto the plate.
  20. Carefully remove the plastic wrap.
  21. Brush more juice over the pudding to cover any paler patches of bread.  You can reduce the juice to a thick syrup for this too and pour it.
  22. Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream.

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