Alice is

cooking Summer Puddings

May 30, 2012

Summer is here, it’s time to ditch the suet and stodge and embrace all things summery. Dessert-wise, this means berries.

Summer pudding, to me, has always been an annual ritual. It being brought to the table signifies the start of summer, in much the same fashion as a Christmas pudding, everyone gleeful and whooping. Hope I don’t sound like Sophie Dahl when I say that. I promise you, I don’t sound anything like Sophie Dahl.

This is a camp looking pudding, bright pink, it’s got a real celebratory feel to it. Its main constituents are berries, sugar and bread, so no fat or eggs, it’s positively good for you, yay!

Here, I’ve made individual puddings, they look pretty and hold their shape well, but you can make a large one with a large pudding basin, in the same way.

To make 6 you’ll need:

One loaf of good quality white bread One packet of frozen mixed berries One packet of frozen raspberries Icing Sugar A slash of grenadine or creme de cassis Firstly, slice your bread. You want fairly thick slices, removing the crusts. If the bread is slightly stale, even better.

Cut out 12 discs of bread using your pudding mould as a template. So you have 2 discs per pudding.

You will also need to make, from one slice of bread, two rectangles, to line the sides. So, lil recap. Per pudding; two rectangles and two circles of bread.

Now line your pudding moulds with cling film, leaving enough overlay to wrap over the top.

On to the filling.

Put your frozen fruit into a large saucepan and slowly heat. Now, you can use fresh fruit, and I’m sure that would be absolutely delicious, BUT it would be expensive, and frankly, I think frozen works just as well, because the berries hold their shape better.

I haven’t put quantities of icing sugar, just add a good 4 heaped tablespoons and taste it. You want a nice balance between sharp and sweet, so don’t overdo the sugar. Add your grenadine, or creme de cassis, a nice glug, just to enhance the flavour, but you don’t have to, it’s not essential.

The aim of heating the fruit is just to release the juices, you don’t want the fruit to loose its shape and become a big old mush, so once the fruit is heated and mixed with the sugar, take off the heat and drain through a sieve, retaining the juice.

Dip half of your bread disc into the berrie juice and line the mould, with juice side facing down. Do the same with your two strips of bread (juice on the outside edge).

I can’t lie, it is messy work. If you’re not organised, the kitchen can end up looking like a scene out of American Physco.

Fill in the mould so that there aren’t any gaps in the soaked bread. Gently press the bread to the sides and fill with berries.

Finish with the remaining bread disc. There’s no need to soak this, as it will absorb the juices from the berries once it’s pressed.

Cover with the cling film and refridgerate, you’ll need to weigh it down with something heavy, I’ve used a chutney jar and a pestle and morter, as they were the only heavy things that fitted the fridge.

Leave overnight and turn out by pulling on the clingfilm. It should come out like a treat. There is something incredibly satisfying about doing this. But possibly it’s just me being weird.

Serve with pouring cream and some fresh berries. If it doesn’t make the recipient smile, then I suggest they get some help.

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