Wild Berry Summer Pudding Recipe
Updated: Jul 14
Wild berries, yummy. Unless you are very lucky you usually find a few wild strawberries, some wild raspberries or a small handful or redcurrants, cowberries or even bearberries. Mostly if we are honest never make it back to the kitchen, this recipe gives you a reason to not eat them on the spot and reserve them until you are ready to prepare them. The combinations of wild berries that you find makes this recipe different every time each time more special than the next. And hey, just to make it even more special, the only people that will ever prepare and cook this wonderful summertime dish is those who know where, when and how to forage for these most special of nature's treats!
In this recipe, use whatever fruits you have. Be that all wild fruits and berries or a mix of fresh shop bought and wild berries. As long as the fruit is ripe and perfect, you'll make a delicious summer pudding!
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A Brief History of the Summer Pudding
Summer pudding is a classic British dessert that dates back to the 19th century. Its origins are uncertain, but it is believed to have been created as a way to make use of leftover stale bread and surplus summer berries.
The concept of using bread and fruit together in a dessert has been around for centuries, but the specific form of summer pudding as we know it today emerged in the late 19th century. It gained popularity in the early 20th century when it became a fashionable dessert at high-end London hotels and tea rooms.
The process of making summer pudding involves lining a bowl or pudding basin with slices of stale white bread and filling it with a mixture of cooked or macerated summer berries. The juice from the berries soaks into the bread, resulting in a vibrant and juicy dessert. After the pudding is chilled and set, it is turned out onto a serving dish, showcasing the beautiful red and purple colours of the berries.
Traditionally, summer pudding is served cold with a dollop of whipped cream or clotted cream. It is a refreshing and light dessert that is particularly popular during the summer months when berries are in season.
Over the years, variations of summer pudding have emerged, with some recipes incorporating additional fruits or adding spices like cinnamon or vanilla. However, the essence of the dessert remains the same—a delightful celebration of seasonal summer berries and a testament to the ingenuity of using humble ingredients to create a delicious and visually appealing dish.
You might like this recipe! Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberries.
Wild Berry Summer Pudding Recipe
750g crab apples
8 slices of white bread (stale but not solid)
Get the elderberries and wild blackberries and put them in a pan with the water and sugar. Bring the berries up to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Now, get a clean pan and a fine metal sieve. Place the cooked berries in a sieve allowing the juice to pour through the sieve into another pan (don’t squeeze the berries you want them as whole as you can).
Prepare your crab apples by de-coring them (clean them up a little), and by slicing them into centimetre slices. As you cut the slices pass them into the reserved sauce so that they don’t go brown until you have prepared them all. Now, the sliced crab apples should be completely covered in the juice, get a heat under them and cook the crab apples in the berry juice for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are cooked and soft. Now using a fork or masher mash the crab apple and gently fold the mashed apple through the reserved whole fruit. Now add your mixed wild berries and fold these in too.
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Now to the bread. Cut the crust off of the slices and dip one side of the bread in the fruit mixture (there is no need to coat them completely, just get some wild berry sauce on them). Take a bowl and lightly grease the inside of it using a paper towel and some light or mild olive oil. Now place the coated bread, dipped side out into the bowl, starting with the sides and eventually cutting a top (at the bottom of the bowl) so that the bowl is completely lined with the bread (make sure there is no gaps in the bread) there should be two slices of bread left to make the top.
Fill the pudding with the fruit, packing it in so there is no gaps or air pockets in the pudding. Eventually seal the pudding with the remaining bread and place a saucer on top that, if you can weight it with something that will help it keep its shape that will help. Place the wild berry summer pudding in the fridge and leave it overnight.
Well, what a lot of bother…. That is until you turn it out, make sure you turn it out onto a white plate, it will look stunning! The deep reds and purples of the fruit will have stained the bread and made for a handsome looking pudding. The flavour is sweet but tart and of course fruity. Its lovely, and has one up on the traditional summer pudding as the fruit, as is always the way with wild fruit is more complicated a flavour. Superb!
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