Suf­folk on a plate

Keep it berry sim­ple with fruity sum­mer pud­ding

EADT Suffolk - - INSIDE - MACKEN­ZIE – DAVID EVENTS Event di­rec­tor Re­becca Macken­zie, chef-di­rec­tor Stephen David. Con­tact Re­becca T: 01986 893991 E: re­becca@macken­

Aschool­friend back in the day had a Ger­man ex­change stu­dent stay with them for a week and at the air­port, they asked him if there was any­thing he had found strange about our habits. He said: “This York­shire pud­ding – why?” I imag­ine vis­i­tors to our shores have also said that about one of my all-time favourite desserts, sum­mer pud­ding.

The stock recipe for sum­mer pud­ding calls for you to warm soft fruits (typ­i­cally rasp­ber­ries and red­cur­rants) with sugar un­til the juices run well, but while the fruit is still hold­ing much of its shape, then to use the re­sul­tant com­pote to fill a bread-lined basin. I like to add black­cur­rants for a tart edge, early black­ber­ries, if they are avail­able, for colour and ripeness, and even straw­ber­ries, diced or quar­tered to avoid them look­ing mushy. Chilled overnight, the bread cas­ing soaks up the spare liq­uid turn­ing the slices a beau­ti­ful berry hue and sta­bilises the whole cre­ation so it can be turned out. It should even be fit for slic­ing if you are re­ally for­tu­nate.

It does have its draw­backs. To keep it such a solid con­struc­tion, the bread rarely soaks through and the re­sul­tant dessert is patchy pink and white on the out­side – far from pretty. So, I soak the bread in the berry juices be­fore I line the dish, or make it in in­di­vid­ual moulds and use the bread in hor­i­zon­tal lay­ers, sim­i­lar to a tri­fle. It looks im­pres­sive when served and doesn’t have to be chilled for so long.


Bread: in­stead of the stan­dard sliced white loaf, Madeira cake is some­times sug­gested. It looks nicer but it is much sweeter and doesn’t hold up so well if you

are turn­ing out your pud­ding. But­tery brioche is a half­way house. An­other al­ter­na­tive is Ital­ian Savoiardi bis­cuits or lady fin­gers.

Fruit: As well as us­ing the full gamut of dif­fer­ent soft fruit such as mul­ber­ries, lo­gan­ber­ries or the new-fan­gled jostaber­ries (a cross of black­cur­rant and goose­berry), us­ing a third of soft­ened, chopped Cox ap­ple in the fruit mix makes the berries go fur­ther with lit­tle im­pact on flavour.

‘Why not try adding a splash of liq­uid with a more flavour in­tent, per­haps a fruity red wine?’

Flavour­ings: If you have tried mac­er­at­ing raw straw­ber­ries for a day or two with bal­samic vine­gar, pink pep­per­corns or just a grind­ing of the black pep­per­mill and caster sugar, you will know how de­li­cious the bit­ter­sweet re­sults can be. If you then add soft­ened berries to this mix, you have a more pi­quant vari­a­tion to the norm. If you are even more ad­ven­tur­ous, the com­ple­men­tary tastes of shred­ded mint leaves and/or freshly-sliced red chillies (with­out the seeds) adds a lively edge to the end re­sult. Other al­ter­na­tives are to add rose­wa­ter, or even scented gera­nium leaves, or dried rose pe­tals into the sim­mer­ing fruit, al­low­ing it to steep for an hour or so.

Juices: A key part of the recipe is to warm the fruit by sim­mer­ing it with sugar and some­times a few ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter. Why not try adding the splash of liq­uid with a more flavour in­tent, per­haps a fresh and fruity red wine such as Ital­ian chi­anti or valpo­li­cella, or fruit juice such as good lo­cal ap­ple. I also quite favour some­thing more in­tense yet sim­i­larly flavoured, such as sloe gin or black­berry vodka, which add depth and a con­cen­tra­tion to the juices.

Sweet­ness: This Vic­to­rian recipe was cre­ated when we had much less of a sweet tooth and for many, espe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion, sum­mer pud­ding can taste a lit­tle tart. For me it comes down to the ripeness of the raw fruit. With ice cream on the side, or sweet­ened cream, it needs very lit­tle sugar in the mix. (Buy Sil­ver Spoon sugar and sup­port Bri­tish farm­ers grow­ing sugar beet, rather than im­ported cane sugar shipped thou­sands of miles).

Ac­com­pa­ni­ments: Sum­mer pud­ding cries out for some­thing creamy – tra­di­tion­ally a glug of lus­cious pour­ing cream or sweet­ened crème Chan­tilly. For a musky el­der­flower cream, try folding some cor­dial into whipped cream at the soft peak stage (no other sugar re­quired). You can even fold into whipped cream shred­ded leaves of fresh basil or mint.

ABOVE: Cap­tion


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