Summer Pudding

This week’s recipe is for Summer Pudding, originally a British dessert made with fresh redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries—and, traditionally, a good, non-gummy bread. (If bread strikes you as weird, try slices of plain pound cake.) The bread soaks up the berry juices, staining the pudding red. Blackcurrants, are hard to come by here, but you can substitute blueberries and toss in some black raspberries if you have them. Instead of one large pudding basin, try using custard cups for individual puds.

Summer Pudding
Very thin slices of day-old white sandwich bread or Pullman loaf, crusts removed
1 1/2 (one and a half) cups redcurrants
1 cup small blueberries
½ (half) cup sugar, pinch of salt
1 1/2  (one and a half) cups raspberries

Line 4 small custard cups with thinly sliced bread. For each cup: cut a circle of bread for the bottom and cut bread pieces to fit up the sides. Try not to leave cracks. Cut and reserve a bigger circle to top off each pudding.

Trim and rinse fruit. Put all the fruit except raspberries in a pan with sugar, pinch of salt and 6 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, stirring once or twice, and cook a few minutes until fruit starts giving up its juices and syrup turns red. Check for sweetness, adding more sugar if needed. Stir in raspberries and quickly spoon hot berries into the bread cases with enough syrup to come close to the top. (Refrigerate remaining syrup.) Press on the bread lids. Drape loosely with cling-film, lightly weight tops, set cups on a tray (in case of drips) and refrigerate 24 hours. After a few hours, remove cling-film and paint lids with syrup to evenly color them. Replace film, weights; let puddings sit till serving time. Slip a knife around the edge of each pudding to loosen and invert onto a plate to serve, painting any unevenly colored patches with reserved syrup. Drizzle last of syrup on the plate, add a few fresh berries if you like, and serve with a hit of confectioner’s sugar and plenty of cream. Serves 4.

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