summer pudding - xmas week 2019

Welcome to the final post for Xmas week 2019. I had my first taste of summer pudding many moons ago, whilst in London. My sister and I had dinner at a local french restaurant and we ordered the set menu. One of the dessert choices was summer pudding which I ordered and I've been a fan ever since.

If you're not a fan of Christmas pudding this sets the tone for Christmas and you can enjoy all the summer berries available in the shops. In some ways, we're pretty lucky that Christmas falls in summer.

I wouldn't call making a summer pudding 'cooking' as its more an assemblage. You need to plan ahead though as the pudding needs to be put together the day before serving. The end result depends on the quality of the ingredients used - a sturdy loaf of white bread and the freshest berries you can find. You can certainly use some frozen berries, but you mainly need fresh berries or else the pudding will be so mushy you won't be able to cut a neat slice. I used 100g frozen raspberries and 60g of frozen blackberries in the mixture, saving the fresh berries for the topping. 

Here’s the recipe for you which needs to be made the day before serving. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. You will need a pudding basin or large bowl (I used a Mason Cash white pudding basin) to make this recipe or you could use a loaf tin.

Summer pudding
250g strawberries
125g blueberries
125g blackberries
250g raspberries
125g redcurrants (if unavailable make up with another berry)
1 vanilla bean
½ -⅔ cup caster sugar 
1-2 tbs water
1 day old white loaf, crusts removed, cut into 1 cm slices. You’ll need about 8 slices.
Butter for greasing
To decorate - mixed berries
To serve - 200 gm double cream

Hull the strawberries and halve or quarter if large. If using red currants remove the currants from their stems by using the tines of a fork.  Rinse the berries in cold water, removing any damaged berries.

Put the berries into a large saucepan with ½ cup sugar, vanilla bean and water then place over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve and the juices to run a little from the berries. Remove the pan from the heat. It’s important not to cook the berries too much or they will become too mushy. Allow the mixture to cool; discard the vanilla bean then strain the mixture through a fine sieve to separate the fruit from the berry juices. Test the berries for sweetness and add a little more sugar to taste. 

Lightly grease a pudding basin and line the bowl with 2 large pieces of cling film allowing some overhang. From one bread slice, cut out a round large enough to fit pudding bowl base and place in the bowl. Cut 4 bread slices in half diagonally to form triangles and cut 4 slices in half vertically to form rectangles. Lay the sliced bread around the sides overlapping a little, press the bread into the sides of the bowl with your hands so you really make a seal. Patch any gaps with pieces of bread.

Once the mould is lined with bread, spoon the cooled berries into centre and press gently down to level, then spoon half the berry liquid over, reserving the remaining liquid. You can trim any excess bread with a pair of kitchen scissors at this stage. Completely cover the top of the pudding with more pieces of bread, then fold the plastic wrap over to seal the pudding and rest a plate that fits directly on the bread (inside the bowl) and place a weight on top to compress the pudding. Place in the fridge for about twenty-four hours. 

When ready to serve, uncover the top of the pudding then turn the pudding out onto a serving plate, removing the cling film. Use a pastry brush to soak any bits of bread that still look white with some of the reserved juice. Top with the extra berries and some of the reserved syrup. Cut the pudding into slices and serve with the cream. I had some left over crème madame from the fruit mince Paris-Brest and served it with my slice of pudding and it was so delicious.

Well that was the last post for Xmas Week 2019 and my last post for the year. I'm taking 4 weeks leave so I'm not sure when I'll be posting again. Until I do, wishing you the happiest of holidays and see you all again in 2020.

Bye for now,



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