Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Pudding...Drunken and Stoned

My friend Babby, has nurtured an herb, flower and berry farm for many years. She sells her small crops at the local farmer's market and I was lucky enough to get her last container of redcurrants this past week. Now at mid season, her surplus is winding down. It has been a passion of hers for years. I've never used redcurrants, but Babby had a copy of a Summer Pudding recipe that she highly recommended. Of course I had to tweak it, but making sure not to deviate from what the English might do. Traditional English Summer Pudding calls for tart currants and sweet berries and can also include stone fruit, such as cherries. Since I literally cannot eat enough cherries when they are in season, I added them into the pudding. To kick up the currant flavor I put in a splash of Crème de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur. So...drunken and stoned it became! This is such an easy do ahead dessert with minimal cooking. It is also versatile and makes an elegant or casual presentation, depending on the feel of your menu. It is heavenly served with very lightly sweetened whipped cream, or crème fraîche and an extra splash of Crème de Cassis on top (if the kids aren't around!).

Summer Pudding

1/2 cup red currants*
1 1/2 cup raspberries*
1 1/2 cup blackberries*
1/2 cup cherries*
1/3-1/2 cup sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon Crème de Cassis
about 6-8 thinly sliced brioche, challah or golden white bread, crusts removed

*You may use any combination of berries and stone fruit that are in season or that you prefer. Red fruits produce the rich red juice that is needed.

You'll need a buttered 4 cup pudding basin or dome shaped bowl and a saucer that just smaller than the top of the bowl.

Separate the currants from their stalks by holding the tip of each stalk firmly between finger and thumb and sliding it between the prongs of a fork, pushing the fork downwards, so pulling off the berries as it goes.
Lightly rinse all fruits and place with the sugar, lemon zest and Crème de Cassis in a non-aluminum saucepan. Cook over medium heat until juices begin to run, and the sugar melts. This will be about 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and pour through a sieve, saving the juices.Cut 2 circles from the bread, one to fit the bottom of the bowl and one to fit the top. Cut the remaining slices into triangles. Quickly dip both sides of the smaller circle of bread into the juices and put into the bottom of the bowl. Continue lining the bowl with the triangles, dipping into the juices as you go. Overlap and press bread to seal as you go, leaving no gaps. Add the fruit into the bread lined bowl and drizzle juice along the sides to ensure that all bread is soaked. Top with the juice soaked larger circle, and put the small saucer on top to press down. Place a weight, such as a large can on top of the saucer. Refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours.

Reserve remaining juice to serve with the pudding.

To serve, run a thin knife or spatula along the sides to loosen and invert onto a serving plate.
Garnish with mint and flowers. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or crème fraîche and reserved juices.

Serves 4-6.

Written and photographed by Diane.

Summer Pudding recipe (pdf)

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Kathy Walker said...

That is beautiful! I have never worked with fresh currants. Thank you for the great pictures...I think I can do it!

La Table De Nana said...

You must know I will want to try this because it is soooo pretty!!!! The shape ..the exquisite color and the middle:)

A Bowl Of Mush said...

What a lovely summer pudding :)

Ry @ Sotto Il Monte Vineyards said...

I made this once - for a magazine assignment. Your pudding turned out beautiful! Mine - not so good - it fell apart when I inverted it onto a plate. I didn't weight it down - maybe that was the problem. Next time I'll try your recipe. I love the idea of adding a little Cassis. Beautiful photos!

Lori (All That Splatters) said...

I love how pretty this is. The color is so rich and vibrant. I've never seen the tip on how to remove currants from their stems before. How clever!

lisa said...

diane, another beautiful creation! i am impressed once again! nancy and i ate at Fish this evening and had a pannecotta with a tomato basil sorbet and black olive coulis....awful sounding, but exquisite....wish you had been there to share it with us!

Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

Diane, this could not possibly be any prettier! I love the tips you share with us, too. Thank you so much!

xo ~m

PS... gorgeous presentation, photos ~ and the china! Beautiful.