One of the quintessential English desserts, Summer Pudding is a triumphal end to many summer lunches and dinners that I've hosted over the years. Packed with fresh summer strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, the fruit is simply simmered with brown sugar and framboise, until the fruit softens and releases its juice, then is 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 creme fraiche, 'Summer Pud' is my absolute favourite dessert to make during the hit days of summer, and when berries are at their best.
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 with a big spoon and a bowl of thick crème fraîche on the table. Heaven!