If you’re only going to make one pudding this summer, it’s got to be a classic English summer pudding, when soft fruits are plentiful.
Served with thick cream, it’s summer on a plate.
750g Mixed summer fruits (strawberries, redcurrants, raspberries etc)
7-8 medium slices white bread from a large loaf, crusts removed with a serrated knife
150g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp cassis or blackcurrant cordial (optional)
1) Rinse the fruit and place in a large pan. Remove the stems from the redcurrants (if using) by sliding between prongs of a fork, pour the sugar over the fruit and stir gently to mix together.
2) Place the pan over a moderate heat and bring gently up to the boil.
3) While the fruit is simmering, cut the bread into thin slices and remove the crusts.
4) When the fruit juice begins to run, raise the heat slightly and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cassis or blackcurrant cordial if using.
5) Trim one slice of bread into a round to fit the base of the pudding basin, and cut 4 slices in half to line the side of the basin, overlapping them at the straight edge with the rounded side down, and sealing well by pressing the edges together. Fill any gaps with small pieces of bread, so that no juice can get through when you add the fruit.
6) Place the pudding basin on a plate to collect any juices and then pour the fruit and juice in – except for about a cupful. Then cover the pudding with the remaining bread and place a small plate or saucer (one that will fit exactly inside the rim of the bowl) on top. Place a 1.8kg scale weight – or some other heavy object – on top of that. Let it cool, then place in the fridge overnight.
7) Just before serving, loosen the pudding all round using a palette knife, and turn it out onto a large serving dish, then spoon the reserved fruit and juice all over, to soak any bits of bread that still look white (a pastry brush is useful here). Cut into thick wedges and serve with cream.