Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Pudding: The Quintessential English Dessert

A triumphal end to many summer lunches and dinners I've hosted over the years, my Summer Pudding is as easy to make as it is outstandingly delicious. One of the quintessential English desserts, Summer Pudding is packed full of fresh summer strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that have been simmered with brown sugar and framboise, then poured into a bread lined bowl and chilled overnight, the pectin in the berries react with the sugar in the bread, and as the pudding chills, it firms up into a fabulous crimson coloured berry laden pudding. Served with a dollop of crème fraîche, 'Summer Pud' is heaven on earth.

Fresh blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and quartered strawberries

Sliced berries with brown sugar and framboise

Framboise from Elephant Island Orchard Winery, BC

Set over a low heat with a cup of water, the berries soften and release their liquid

Once cooked, the berries must be allowed to cool before making the Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding
Serves 12

1 lb strawberries
1 lb raspberries
1 lb blueberries
1 lb blackberries
1 package frozen mixed berries
1 cup light brown sugar
1 loaf white bread
1/2 cup framboise
2 cups crème fraîche and fresh mint, for garnish

Remove the crusts from the bread. Wash and trim all the fresh berries, and add them to a large saucepan with the frozen berries, framboise, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water, and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have released their juices, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove 1 cup of the juice and set aside.

Lightly grease a medium sized bowl with some vegetable oil, then line the bowl with the slices of bread, covering the bottom and the sides. Using a large spoon, ladle the berry mixture into the bread lined bowl, then top with the remaining slices of bread. Lay a flat plate on top with a heavy weight to squash the fruit down, and chill 12-24 hours.

When ready to serve, place a large serving plate on top of the bowl and gently invert. Shake gently to release the pudding onto the plate and spoon the reserved juice over the top, garnishing with some sprigs of fresh mint. Serve cut into wedges, with a bowl of thick crème fraîche on the table. Heaven!