When the redcurrants and blackcurrants ripen and weigh down the branches of our fruit bushes, I know it’s time to make Summer Pudding.
This is a splendid dessert, such a culinary delight for so little effort. It involves a lot of time though, so, for the perfect Summer Pudding, allow a day, or preferably two, for the juices to be completely absorbed.
Summer Pudding requires no cooking. All you need in the way of kitchen equipment is a 2 litre pudding basin and a plate larger than the circumference of the basin.
Soft fruit can be whatever you’ve got. I love cherries, so I always make sure I add plenty. We have an orchard nearby where you can pick your own fruit. One of my favourite summer outings is to visit the orchard and pluck my own cherries from the trees. There is often home-made cherry ice-cream for sale too.
The garden provides ample redcurrants, the bush illuminated with the bunches of berries like red Christmas fairy-lights. We have a few blackcurrants and still plenty of blueberries; I pick a generous handful. I like to use strawberries in the Summer Pudding recipe as well, for their delicious texture and flavour. Ours are over, finished by the end of June, so my strawberries are locally grown and bought from the nearby farm shop.
When it comes to bread, the farm shop’s no use at all – it’s a visit to our nearest supermarket. The very best Summer Pudding should be made from plain, simple white sliced bread with the crusts removed. A guilty pleasure of mine (apparently you shouldn’t encourage them) is to feed our resident herring-gulls with the cut-off crusts. You hear one call out as it soars overhead, picking out the feast with it’s piercing yellow eyes, then half-a-dozen or more will swarm down to devour the bread. They gorge themselves on the crusts, their crops bulging with the bread as they pack it in.
But enough of that; let’s get on with the recipe:
- Soft Fruit (approx 650 grams)
- Sugar, either Granulated or Caster is fine (50 grams, or a little more, to taste)
- Water as required, just enough for the mixture to be juicy
- White Sliced Bread (about two-thirds of a large loaf)
- Wash the berries and put into a medium-sized saucepan;
- Pit the cherries and add them to the fruit;
- Add a little water;
- Sprinkle with sugar;
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and then bring to the boil.
- Remove crusts and line the pudding basin with the crustless bread;
- Pour the cooked fruit mixture into the bread-lined basin, ensuring there is plenty of juice left in the saucepan;
- Gently trickle most of the remaining juice down the sides of the basin, allowing it to become absorbed by the bread;
- When all the bread is a purple, fruity colour, cap the pudding with bread;
- With a teaspoon, pour the remaining juice over the bread covering the pudding, staining it purple;
- Place a plate onto the pudding and turn upside down;
- Keep the inverted pudding in the fridge for several hours or overnight;
- Finally, remove the basin and there you are, the perfect, scrumptious Summer Pudding.