Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Pudding

Every summer, the COG and I wait impatiently for the soft fruit to ripen so we can make our favorite dessert, which goes by the prosaic name 'Summer Pudding '.

Here's a picture of one slice of pudding.

This is a very old English dessert, for which there is no real recipe and just three ingredients - fruit, sugar, bread. Basically, you take a lot of soft summer fruits - strawberries, raspberries, cherries, gooseberries, currants, blueberries etc. and you cook them with a little sugar for a very brief time. You want the berries just to begin to split and give off juice and the sugar to melt, but you don't want to cook them. Then you line a bowl - bottom and sides- with thinly sliced white bread, over-lapping if necessary because you don't want any holes. Spoon in the fuit until the bowl is full, then pave the top with more white bread and pour the remaining juice over the top. Finally, you put a plate that fits exactly inside the top of the bowl, on top of the pudding and weight it with a big can of tomatoes (or something). Leave overnight or for 24 hours. Turn it upside down on a big plate (which is what you see in the picture) and serve. With a little cream.

If you'd like to try it yourself, watch this video from The Guardian. She makes individual servings, I make one ginormous bowl full. I follow the Elizabeth David proportions of 4-5 parts fruit to one part sugar. One thing, if you can get fresh red, white or black currants, do use them they add a really important depth of flavor to the mix. But if you can't get currants - try it anyway.

This is the best dessert in the world. Surely angels eat this in Paradise.

And, by the way, it's also great for breakfast - which is what the COG and I did today.


Vivi said...

I have been wanting to make a summer pudding for years, but never had the fruit at the same time as the opportunity and the energy and the audience (eaters).

Do you think I could use my charlotte pan? or does the plate need to be pressing down into the pud? (we have a ton of cherries in the fridge, and a quick visit to the local farm-store usually provides gooseberries and currants, not to mention the more ordinary fruits).

Maybe Thursday, when everybody will be home for the last time. I could assemble it Wednesday before everybody gets home for the last time.

The Bride said...

I remember when Homo Dommi visited us, he loved it. As to using the charlotte pan, I don't see why not. The plate need to press down, but I don't see why a charlotte pan would prevent that.

Watch the video. The single serving pan she uses is kind of shaped like a charlotte pan.

The Cranky Old Geezer said...

Redcurrants or blackcurrants, if you can get them, make all the difference because they give it a tart flavour.

There are many variations, which the British argue about.

When I visited my mother I used to buy M&S's precooked version.

Good, but not as good as the real thing.

You must serve cream with it. Don't do the health thing and try to skimp!

After all you are not eating it daily.

peaceable_tate said...

The bread slices--what should one consider there? I'm assuming not whole wheat nor wonderbread.

The Bride said...

Good quality soft white bread - Pepperidge Farm thin sandwich slices are good, or any nicer quality white bread.

It doesn't have to be homemade. It's nice to have a loaf (as opposed to a baguette) because the square shape makes it easier to cover the whole pan.