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Summer Pudding

December 30, 2008

I’ve always associated raspberries with Christmas. I was 15 and living on the now defunct RNZAF base at Taieri near Dunedin. School had finished for the year and word got out that a raspberry grower about 15 kilometres away was looking for pickers.

My friends and I hopped on our bikes and pedalled over the country roads to the raspberry farm and were soon gently plucking the luscious fruit off the canes.

The going rate for pickers was half a crown – 25 cents – for every 12lb picked.

It was hot work but the thought of collecting money to buy Christmas presents kept us going. Fending off the occasional bee, we picked our way down the long rows, consuming the occasional berry in the interests of quality control.

I was making today’s summer pudding for our Christmas lunch last week and as I helped myself to a couple of cook’s perks out of the raspberry punnets, memories came flooding back of those dusty hot days among the canes and the welcome dip in the river before the long cycle home.

Summer pudding looks god, tastes delicious and is easy to make. I found a lengthwise sliced loaf of bread at a local bakery and this was ideal for cutting into slightly tapered shapes to line the mould.

To enhance the berry flavours, I used some POM Wonderful® pomegranate juice when simmering them, but you can use water.

Summer pudding

Stale white bread, crusts removed
2 punnets each raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries
100g cherries, pitted
50g castor sugar
125ml water or pomegranate juice

Reserve a few berries to decorate the finished pudding.

Hull and slice the strawberries. Place in a frypan with the other berries and cherries, sprinkle with castor sugar and add the water or pomegranate juice. Simmer for about three minutes to release the juices, stirring gently once or twice. Place a sieve over a bowl and tip the fruit in. Allow to drain for 10 minutes, keeping the juice.

Meanwhile line a 1.5 litre capacity bowl with plastic wrap. Cut a circle out of the bread to fit the bottom of the bowl. Cut slightly tapered shapes to line the bowl and triangles for the top.

Dip one side of the bottom circle of bread quickly into the juice and place, juice side down, into the bowl. Do the same with the bread for the sides, dipping them in the juice then  overlapping them by a couple of centimetres. Spoon in the fruit then arrange the triangles of bread on top, again overlapping the pieces. Gently pour over the remaining juices. Cover the top with more plastic wrap and then place the bowl in a shallow dish to catch any juices. Choose a flat plate that fits the top of the bowl. Place it on top and weigh down with something heavy. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

To serve, collect any juices. Remove the plastic from the top and turn the pudding out onto a serving plate. Pour over any remaining juice. Decorate with the reserved fruit and serve with sweetened whipped cream.


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