Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Summer Puddings

So many desserts seem to rely upon the use of lots of butter, sugar, cream and eggs in order to achieve something fitting for the end of a meal. The reality is that this doesn’t always have to be the case and these mini summer puddings are a perfect example of an alternative to all those rich desserts that seem to dominate.

Basically these puddings, which are served chilled are made from stale bread and very slightly sweetened summer berries. It is up to you which berries you use, but I like to use raspberries, redcurrants, cherries strawberries and some blackcurrants, but I have also made a version using dessert gooseberries and white-currants which I flavoured with a little elderflower syrup – a most unusual but very refreshing alternative.

This is the perfect dessert on a hot summer’s day and despite its inherent simplicity manages to look incredibly beautiful and extremely elegant.

At most, I serve these puddings with a small dollop of lightly whipped cream, but a chilled crème anglaise would also work very well and add a restrained touch of luxury to the dish.
 

Ingredients:

500g soft summer fruits made up of raspberries, redcurrants, cherries, strawberries and a small amount of blackcurrants
2tblsp sugar (or to taste)
8-10 slices of slightly stale white sliced bread, cut into fingers.
1tblsp cassis or framboise


Method:

1. Using a flavourless vegetable oil, lightly grease 4 mini pudding basins or dariole moulds and then line each basin with cling film, leaving enough to fold over the top of each basin when it is filled. Set aside.
2. Mix all the fruits and sugar together in a large bowl. Remove half of the fruits and roughly mash with a fork in a metal sieve set over a bowl to catch the juices. Return the mashed fruit to the bowl with the whole fruit and reserve the fruit juices.
3. Cut out four rounds of bread, the size of the base of each pudding basin. Dip each round into the juice and place one in the bottom of each pudding basin. Next dip each bread finger into the juice and use these, slightly overlapping to line the sides of each pudding basin.
4. Spoon the fruit into the bread lined basins making sure that it is tightly packed in. Finally curt out a round of bread to fully cover the top of each basin, again dipping each round in the fruit juices as before. Fold the excess cling film over the top of each pudding and sit something heavy on top of each pudding to weight it down. Refrigerate overnight so that each pudding has the chance to firm up.
5. When ready to serve, unwrap the cling film from the top of each pudding and invert onto a plate, removing the rest of the cling film. Serve with a dollop of softly whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 4.