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Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding

I don’t know about you, but wandering around my little garden the other day I was delighted to see the masses of strawberries, glowing red in the fragile sun. Added to which, the raspberry canes, which performed so pitifully last year, were bursting with fruit this time around.

That is the one problem with growing your own produce.  One minute you are on starvation rations, then suddenly you have so much that you have no idea what to do with it all.  The other problem, particularly with strawberries, is that you need to eat them almost as soon as you pick them. I have no idea what the supermarkets do to keep their fruit so shiny and bright, but the good, old fashioned garden version does not survive for very long once it is off the plant.

So with that in mind, I hoodwinked my colleagues into discussing the many options. One thing which exasperates us all is that, as soon as Master Chef et al hit our screens, good old fashioned recipes went out of the window in favour of things with foam and a pureed drizzle of this and that. Personally I do not have time for all that nonsense, beautiful as it looks;  if I want to eat something which looks like a work of art, I will do so on the far side of my front door, rather than set myself up for disappointment in my own kitchen.

The team decided that the best recipe, worthy of a come-back and a bit of British flag waving was the good old Summer Pudding. Firstly because it is so easy to make and secondly because it is a bit of a rough’n’tumble style pudding, like other family favourites, Bread and Butter Pudding or a fruit crumble, are not designed to be elegant. Their only requirement is to be delicious!

We tried out a few recipes from Mary Berry some housekeeping magazines and also the BBC.  Here is our favourite recipe, but do watch this video which shows how to assemble a summer pudding. It’s from Jamie Oliver’s kitchen team so you know it is good. Also, no matter how I try to explain this bit, it will sound a bit odd.

Ingredients

Time: 20mins + overnight in fridge

7-9 slices of day old white bread, medium sliced with crusts removed

(option – spread seedless red jam on one side of the bread for those with a very sweet tooth)

300g strawberries

500g raspberries

300g mixed red/black berries of your own choosing (eg redcurrants, blackcurrants or black berries)

150g caster sugar (if raspberries are tart, add an extra 25g)

4-5 tbl spoons of sherry, crème de cassis liqueur or elderflower

50ml water

1 tspn olive oil

Lots of cling film!

Method:

1. Prepare the fruit (wash, de-hull and remove any bits of leaf or stalk.)

2. Put all the mixed currants and blackberries, sugar and the water in a pan, then simmer on a low heat for 5 mins till it is all very slightly soft (not floppy).

3. Take off heat and add strawberries and raspberries and stir, using heat of the other fruit and water to warm them.

4. Prepare your bowl by lining the litre basin with cling film (see film clip) this will help you to turn out the pudding at the end.  Line the bowl with the bread, remember to overlap the pieces. Keep 2 spare pieces chopped into triangles, for the top.  Jamie Oliver puts jam on the bread, but we found this made it way too sweet, but it is up to you.

5. Use a slotted spoon to put all the fruit into the bread lined bowl, adding a tablespoon of liqueur after each. Keep any left-over fruit and all the left over juice to decorate later.

6. Once the bowl is full, put the last 2 pieces of bread on the top, over with cling film and put a plate on the top. Weigh the plate down with kitchen weights or a jar of jam or similar.

7. Put it in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

8. unwrap the cling film top. And turn it out onto a plate, and peel off the excess cling film.

Serve with spare fruit, ice cream, cream or crème fraiche.

I must say a quick thank you to the Purely Window Shutters Design Team, who spend most of their days ensuring the shutters on window with interesting shapes and styles, fit perfectly. They helped me try out a number of different recipes to find one which we all loved best.

 

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