from one generation to the next
My family abandoned English food traditions at Christmas time long ago in favour of lighter fare, but a traditional English Summer Pudding with berries is frequently our dessert of choice.
An authentic version of this pudding uses thinly sliced white bread to enclose the luscious mass of sweet and tart berries but the crumbly texture and pappy structure of gluten free bread rules it out as an option for me.
Inspired by Jane Grigson’s recipe for Tuscan Summer Pudding, a hybrid berry cream zucotto style dessert encased in syrup soaked sponge cake, I made a hazelnut sponge cake to thinly slice and use as the casing for my lightly sweetened dense berry filling, a combination of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and red currants.
Summer pudding must be made 1-2 days ahead of being needed to give the berry juices time to flow, to allow the pectin to do its work and thicken the fruit mass and for the juices to saturate the cake. This lead time makes it the perfect dish for the busy cook and perfect for the Southern Hemisphere summer berry season.
I used a mix of fresh and frozen berries.
Summer pudding without gelatine or dairy or egg for glue always amazes me. The pudding turned out the basin beautifully, sliced easily and miraculously kept it shape. More importantly, it tasted delicious, there were no leftovers!!
Line a dome shaped bowl with plastic wrap.
Thinly slice the sponge. I split the sponge horizontally, the cut each half into 12 giving me 24 thin triangular pieces.
Line the sides and base of the pudding basin with cake.
Gently warm the berries, sugar and lemon juice until the sugar is dissolved.
Spoon the berries into the cake lined bowl.
Cover the berries with a layer of cake so the berries are completely enclosed.
Cover the top cake layer with plastic wrap then lay a small plate over the surface.
Put a weight on the plate, I used 4 X 250ml tubs of yoghurt, and chill for at least 24 hours.
To serve, remove the plastic wrap covering the pudding so that the flat top/base of the pudding is completely exposed. Place a round serving plate over the top of the pudding bowl and quickly flip the bowl over onto the plate. The pudding should then drop easily, but I f it needs to be dislodged, give the edges of the plastic lining a tug.
Slice into thick wedges and serve with pouring bream.