I've discovered a PYO fruit farm just outside Norwich which sells the most delicious strawberries, loganberries and gooseberries. Unlike most strawberries, these ones are grown in grow-bags raised off the ground, so are a perfect height for picking, especially 3 year olds.
With this batch of red fruit I've made a summer pudding and with the gooseberries, I think I'll make a crumble or fool. Summer pudding has to be one of the tastiest fruit puddings and one of the simplest to make. I'm sure it's not everyone's idea cup of tea - eating soggy white bread drenched with fruit syrup, but to me, it's so traditional and summery and perfect with a hefty helping of double cream.
I used frozen blackcurrants, red currents and raspberries along with some fresh raspberries, loganberries and strawberries. Using frozen fruit is ideal as they produce more juice then fresh fruit, it was also easier as not all of the fruit is in season yet. I don't think the bread I used was really stale enough, a two day old pre-sliced, white sandwich bakery loaf is your best best. Using those pappy, bagged loaves is pointless, they go moldy before they go stale due to the amount of preservatives in them.
I've got no idea about quantities, you basically need enough fruit to fill the pudding basin you are using. Using glass bowl is best, you can then see if any of the bread is still white and not yet fruit drenched.
I think I roughly used:
- 1/2 lb hulled and halved strawberries
- 1/2 Ib fresh raspberries
- 1/2 Ib frozen raspberries
- 1/2 Ib frozen blackcurrants
- 1/2 Ib red/white currents
- 1/2 Ib loganberries
- 1 white loaf, sliced with crusts removed
- 2-3 tablespoons of caster sugar
Gently heat the blackcurrants and add the sugar and a little water. Then tip in the frozen raspberries and remaining currents and gently mix.
Tip in the rest of the fruit and check for sweetness and quantity of juice - you need a quite a bit.
Line your chosen pudding basin with the bread, overlapping the slices.
Once you're happy with your bread layout, take it out remembering the order it goes back in and dip each piece into the pan of fruit.
Put the bread back in the bowl, juice side down.
Once all the bread is lining the bowl, tip in the fruit and top with more bread.
Find a suitable sized plate and place it on top of the pudding followed by a weight.
Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
When ready to eat, run a knife around the pudding, place a large plate on top, turn upside down and shake until it drops on the plate.
Eat with as much cream as your guilt will allow.