Summer pudding with strawberries and blackberries.
This was a popular dessert in our family when I lived in England and we still love it. It’s easy to make and inexpensive, especially when strawberries and blackberries are plentiful. In fact, you can use other berries too and the fruit will go even further if you add chopped apple. This recipe is incredibly versatile.
It’s quick to prepare too. The pudding requires just a couple of minutes cooking and then it needs to be chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours so the prep time is minimal. And because you don’t need the oven to make this dessert, your kitchen remains cool – always bonus in the summer months.
I use about a teaspoon (heaped) of sugar but I’ve also used honey to sweeten the fruit and there’s no reason why you can’t use an artificial sweetener if you wish. For the amount, be guided by how sweet your tooth is – some people like more than others. You’ll need enough fruit to fill the bowl you’ve chosen to use and a few slices of bread. The amount will depend on the size of your bowl and the size of the loaf. As a special addition,I use a little cherry-flavoured rum too! But this is optional and you can experiment with other flavours (and other liquors).
See the step-by-step photographs below the recipe.
Serves: Serves 4
- Mixed fresh berries - enough to fill your chosen bowl
- 6 slices of bread - this may vary depending on the size of the loaf
- 1 teaspoon cherry-spiced rum (optional but so good)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Mint leaves
- Clean the berries and slice any large pieces of fruit. Place in a pan on the stove.
- Add cold water. Don't cover the fruit with water, have it come about halfway.
- Add the sugar or honey, rum if using, and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for two or three minutes then set aside to cool.
- Remove the crusts from the bread.
- Line your bowl with foil.
- Line the foil with bread slices - a single layer on the bottom and up the sides.
- Spoon half the berries over and add another single layer of bread.
- Add the rest of the fruit and then the 'lid' of sliced bread.
- Spoon syrup from the pan over the top, retaining about a cup.
- Cover the top of the bowl with foil and press down gently.
- Add weights (see photograph below) and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
- To serve, turn out the pudding onto a plate or board.
- Add a spoonful of syrup to each serving plate, add a slice of pudding and a dollop of vanilla ice cream (or the sauce below)
- Garnish with extra fruit and mint leaves.
Use the fruit of your choice. Here, as you can see, I’ve added blueberries too. Add sugar and water, bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes or to your taste – we like the fruit to still have a little bite.
Lining the container you use makes the pudding much easier to turn out onto a serving plate once it’s ready. You can use a proper round pudding basin but here I’ve used a loaf dish. Leave enough foil at the side to wrap over the top once the pudding is assembled.
Line the foil with bread slices.
Don’t throw the crusts away. I keep them in a jar in the fridge to use later for fresh breadcrumbs. Or if you’re not likely to need breadcrumbs soon, keep them in the freezer.
Spoon in half the fruit.
Top with a layer of bread, add the rest of the fruit and then add a bread ‘lid’.
Pour syrup from the pan over. Reserve about a cup of the syrup. Cover with foil.
Place weights on top. Because I was using a loaf dish, a small brick would have been ideal but I don’t have one in my kitchen armoury, surprisingly. But as you can see, some cans do the trick perfectly. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Turn the pudding out onto a serving dish or plate. See how the syrup has marbled the bread so beautifully. Garnish.
Serve with ice cream or for a tasty, almost-instant sauce, mix Bailey’s Irish Cream into canned Carnation milk. Store cupboard cookery 🙂 Pour a little syrup into the serving bowls and add a slice of pudding to each.