Sunday, July 18, 2021

Summer Pudding: a very British, very delicious, dessert

 JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Once more, we have the magnificent Celia Wakefield today, this time sharing a recipe for a delightful summer dessert that looks impressive but that's secretly (shhhh!) not hard to make at all.



Good morning, good morning to you all. It’s great to be back with JRW’ers, does that tag make sense? Probably not but I have an adulthood sprinkled with initials. I think it may be the fault of IBM. I do wonder who first said to Mr. Watson, Sr., “Sir, International Business Machines, is rather a mouthful, how about we trademark as IBM, Sir, what do you think?” And Mr. W. being a very savvy biz man, probably handed him one stock certificate in reward, which at that time didn’t cost anything. But we do know that his chauffeur ended up a millionaire back, back in the day.

Well that was an introduction with no relevance to my subject at all. Perhaps Julia won’t edit it out. A few weeks ago Julia had a birthday. Yes, birthdays, do you love or hate them? Is it a judgement about getting older? Or like me, do you revel in your birthday, having no shame to share the news with all and sundry as you go through your birthday time. I’m sure my response to birthdays has some long lost reaction to something from my childhood, but enough about me, this was Julia’s birthday and it happened that she was free that evening. Come On Over!

I needed a dessert which said, “Hooray it’s your birthday. I know, go out and buy a cake, but I don’t like to buy what I can make. I had local strawberries, blueberries and some cherries which were a little past their sell day, so what to do? Make a summer pudding. Remembering a pudding that I had wanted to make for years but never tried because it appeared complicated, I made a Summer Pudding. Wikipedia states, “It first appears in print with its current name in 1904, but identical recipes for 'hydropathic pudding' and 'Malvern pudding' from as far back as 1868 have been found.

Now I may have mentioned once or several times that I am not a baker, even having turned out many batches of shortbread during COVID. This became blindingly obvious on July Fourth. Now this is not a holiday that I grew up observing. I do have a memory of going to the Fourth of July USA Celebration at the home of the American Counsel General in Burundi. Burundi had just gained independence from Belgium and were most grateful to the United Nations who had been the major player in creating that freedom. As my father was the Representative (Ambassador), in the country for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, he was popular with the Africans. Father had found a large powder blue American auto, (1950’s winged style), in Usumbura which he purchased for his official car and in which my mother and I drove around town with the UN flag on the front headlight. My biggest claim to fame. On moving to the USA, I was happy to embrace another holiday even if I was one of the bad guys. 

But back to baking. Our first over-Covid Fourth meant we should invite folk over. Julia came with another friend, Samantha, who is a professional baker. I couldn’t serve summer pudding a second time but with more local strawberries I decided on shortcake strawberries and cream. To cut a painful tale short, I burned the shortcake bottoms, I think I read the recipe wrong. It was from Nigella, the baking goddess, and as she is English I should have understood it but that’s my excuse. Lovely Samantha kindly took the grater and removed the burnt bottoms. One can serve anything with enough cream

 Here is the deconstructed shortcake..

 

Julia commented that baking really did stress me, and it was time to put it down as a skill which led us to the choice of summer pudding for today.I think the origin of summer pudding is probably much older than the Wiki comment states. White bread was a luxury item because the making thereof was most labor intensive. It was only affordable for the wealthy until the mid nineteenth century when industrial developments in flour processing came in. I would hazard a guess that any leftover or stale white bread needed a recipe to turn it into something delicious, ergo summer pudding was born and it is delicious.

This is easy to make, needs very little cooking and is made with the freshest of summer soft fruit, an English term for strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, cherries, red and black currents and of course our blueberries, which due to climate change are being heavily cultivated in the south of England, plus a few slices of stale white bread. Like most easy things there is a catch, summer pudding must be made leaving at least eight hours for the juices to meld and seep into the bread making a delicious melody of flavors.

 

 

SUMMER PUDDING

Pudding Basin or mold, above, see a 3 cup size 

Plastic wrap to line mold

3 quarts approx of mixed fruit - I used blueberries,

strawberries and cherries

1/2 C sugar

4-6 slices of bread with crusts cut off  

 

 

DIRECTIONS

Put the fruit and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan. 

 and heat on a low heat, until the sugar has melted.

Heat slowly and stir often.

When the sugar has dissolved, take off the heat and leave to cool.

Line the basin with plastic wrap (see video below)

Trim crusts from the bread

Line the basin with bread cut to size, saving 2 slices for the top (see video below)

Spoon in the fruit almost to the top of the bread line

Add the juice, reserving a 1/4 cup

Cut the lid to fit inside the bread walls (see video below)

Place a piece of waxed paper over the lid

Add a small plate of saucer to fit. It must ‘sit’ on the lid

Weigh down with a 2lb weight - cans work well

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours

 

TO SERVE

Remove summer pudding from the fridge

Remove weights, plate and wax paper

Put a serving plate, Quiche dish or other dish with a small raised edge on top of the pudding.

Holding both mold and serving plate, FLIP over

Carefully peal off the plastic wrap.

Pour the reserved juice over any part of the bread is still white to cover.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream

ENJOY!

 

 

56 comments:

  1. Now that looks yummy, and it seems so easy, watching the video . . . definitely on my to-try list . . . Thank you for sharing it with us, Celia.
    Question . . . can you use a white bread such as challah or brioche as the bread in this pudding?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're more than welcome Joan and Good morning to you. I think challah or brioche would be delicious. I prefer to cut the bread myself as I think a thinner loaf works better. But stale, enriched bread, what a treat!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I thinks so too, Lucy! Well worth the price of admission!

      Delete
    2. Haha, thank you both very kindly. Listening to the video makes me think perhaps I need speech therapy!

      Delete
  3. Celia, wonderful! I bet this recipe would be delicious using challah. I bake breads and cakes all of the time so this would be completely different.

    Is the term "pudding" widely used in England to mean any dessert?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Judy, I agree challah would be delicious, thin slices are the key I believe. Yes, pudding when I grew up was widely used. In fact your comment reminded me of Nancy Mitford's book on You and non You behavior, a guide to proper terms when speaking! My husband told me that in his family dessert was always referred to as 'seconds'. As a young rather gauche man, he was out to dinner, and brightly asked, "What's for secs", without thinking of how that would sound to others not in his family circle. Well we all have these stories to blush over don't we?

      Delete
    2. LOL! I never heard that story before!

      And Judy, both times Celia made this she used GOOD bakery bread, and I think it made a big difference. I wouldn't waste all that good fruit on Wonderbread, for example.

      Delete
    3. Celia, still laughing. In my family, it could only mean one thing...wink, wink! Julia, challah it is!

      Delete
  4. Well, that looks and sounds positively delicious! Thank you Celia.

    Belated happy birthday to Julia, and congratulations on the Agatha win to Rhys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're most welcome Edith, and along with you I must congratulate Rhys as I skipped the twitter gossip yesterday!

      Delete
  5. Looks yummy! But Celia, you put a can on that lovely plate. I would be afraid the weight would crack it.

    Happy belated birthday, Julia. Rhys - I was thrilled to learn of your Agatha win. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kait, good china should stand up to reasonable weight, though I wouldn't stand on the plate myself!

      Delete
    2. Good porcelain is brittle, but strong, Kait - one of the reasons we have pieces dating all the way back to ancient China. Thank you for the birthday wishes!

      Delete
  6. This looks good. It’s fun to be able to make pudding without having to use the oven in hot weather.
    Thank you Celia and Julia, I love your videos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Danielle, very kind of you to compliment the videos though maybe it's the videographer's skills. Julia and I always have many laughs doing these recipes.

      Delete
  7. Lovely! And the shortcake looks delicious as well. I have a June birthday and strawberry shortcake was my cake every year.

    HB to Julia and congrats to Rhys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Margaret and a most belated Happy Birthday to you, and many more.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Margaret, and many happy returns to you as well!

      Delete
  8. Congratulations to Rhys. Happy Birthday to Julia. Thank you to Celia. Summer Pudding has been on my list to make for many years. I think you have inspired me to make it for the next family get together. I’ll be using my homemade buttermilk bread so it will be sliced thinner because that’s the way I like it. The thought of that pudding with mascarpone whipped cream is really making my mouth water. My family thanks you in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome Ann. Now is the time to jump in and make summer pudding. In fact I don't know why I put it off for so many years. Your cream idea has my mouth on the go too.

      Delete
  9. Thank you for another splendid blog post complete with videos, Celia! I love your Fortnum & Mason basin, and the plate you put on top of the pudding is the same pattern as the one remaining saucer I have from my mother's collection. Lovely!

    I shall commit heresy here and say that I'll skip all the faff with the bread and weighting and waiting, and simply skip to the fruit with lots of whipped cream. Yum!

    Congratulations to Rhys. And happiest of birthdays (belatedly) to Julia.

    Enjoy your Sunday, everyone...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're most welcome Amanda, I have enjoyed your blog too this year. Yes, my basin doesn't get enough exposure nowadays. Great for steak and kidney which I hardly ever make now. I loved that china pattern too and managed over time to buy a full set of 12 in TJ Maxx. I think you are correct as to just go directly to the fruit, but you all needed a recipe, so here it is.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Needs must 'n all that, Celia: agreed! We need a recipe from you on Julia's Sunday and it's always delightful to read, even if I don't make it...and I am thrilled that you read my blog; thank you.

      Delete
    4. Amanda, the evening Celia made the pudding there was SO much delicious fruit and juice left over. That night the dessert was ice cream with loads of fruit topping. I can highly recommend it.

      Delete
  10. Delicious! Thank you, Celia. I love the videos!
    Delightful to be in the kitchen with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Jenn, the only better thing would be to have you all cooking with me.

      Delete
  11. Happy belated birthday, Julia! Celia, that looks like a lovely summertime dessert! Hope to try it very soon, so thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're most welcome Judi, I love doing these recipes for JRW, such a great community to be a part of.

    ReplyDelete
  13. These are so incredibly entertaining! I don’t know which is more funny, listening to you or the recipes… But standing ovation for all! And happiest of birthdays, Julia, how did that sneak by us all? xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a sneaky Pete, Hank!

      Delete
    2. Thank you Hank, I aim to please by laughter if nothing else. You are such a great example for me in terms of Zoom etc.

      Delete
  14. I'm wondering how many of the June babies, of which I am one, have some kind of strawberry dessert/seconds/pudding for their special day. Mine was always Angel Food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Will there be a third video, tomorrow, of the final product being unfolded and relished by all? Love the term: summer soft fruits. Happy belated birthday, Julia and congratulations to Rhys. And now I look up and see I'm going to be late for work. A pleasant to you all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deana, I had a LOT of strawberry desserts for birthdays growing up, and the Angel Food cake was one of them. Must have been a popular 60s recipe!

      Delete
    2. Deana here..... A pleasant SUNDAY to you all.....

      Delete
    3. Well we were married third week in May, but back in England so we had the traditional dark fruit cake iced all over. Unfortunately I was married before the days of special photography and have only one photo inside the reception of Victor and I. We had a cocktail party at the Guards Club in London.

      Delete
    4. My birthday is June 24th and because it was in strawberry season I always had strawberry shortcake…being an ungrateful child, I longed to have a cake!

      Delete
  15. Thank you ladies! I love the Celia-and-Julia cooking show. More, please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we ever manages to get Celia to a conference like Malice, we'll see about doing a live version!

      Delete
    2. You're welcome Pat, delighted you enjoy our silliness. And as for a cooking show I have a tale to tell there too.

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Celia, it is always such a delight to have you on Jungle Red, and I enjoy your musings as much as the cooking! Your summer pudding looks just about my baking speed, and I love your pudding basin. I was just watching a Fortnum's video on Instagram the other day and drooling over all the goodies there. Your summer pudding reminded me of my other favorite English summer dessert--Eton Mess.

    Happy belated, Julia!

    And huge congrats on the Agatha win, Rhys!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debs, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. With Julia's help my 'musings' as you call them are improving in grammar etc. They did need help. Yes I do miss being in London, (hint for next book please), tea at Fortnums and browsing through the food hall. My sister, the little snob, would have our father take her to F&M to buy her fav cheese. She was once overhead to say to the attendant, "No! I don't want Emmanthal, I want gruyere".

      Delete
    2. British desserts are so very tasty, but they really need to work on their marketing. Spotted dick, Eton mess, treacle tart...

      Delete
    3. So true, Julia. And I have to admit I have still never tried Spotted Dick. Maybe you and Celia could tackle that one next!

      Delete
  18. Congratulations Rhys! Well deserved!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I found the videos so interesting and informative. Kudos to you, Celia, in making that part of the recipe clear to us (and kudos to your camera person, Julia). The Summer Pudding sounds and looks like such a great change of pace for a dessert. Thank you for another wonderful dish for our table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad the video was helpful Kathy, yes I do have a talented camera woman, she can write too. Enjoy, and you're very welcome.

      Delete
  20. And, Rhys, a huge congratulations on winning the Agatha for Best Historical Mystery! I loved The Last Mrs. Summers!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fabulous post and videos! I always love your recipes Celia, with great commentary by the sneaky birthday gal Julia. Belated Happy B'day, Julia! I'm also a June (teenth) baby, but for most years Mom knew my love for chocolate, besides strawberries and cherries, so I had lots of choc. cakes when I was young, then more angelfood w/berries or strawberry shortcake, always with tons of whipped cream!

    ReplyDelete
  22. That looks WONDERFUL! Perfect for summertime, not heating the house by baking. Mom once quietly switched off her oven when a SIL ignored her summer no-baking preference. "Oh, it must be broken."
    I suppose if one feels too bad about the crusts, they could be frozen for Thanksgiving stuffing, since we are now being told bread isn't good for ducks.
    I agree with Kathy; THE LAST MRS. SUMMERS deserves many awards! <3

    ReplyDelete
  23. Rhys Bowen won an Agatha for Best Historical Fiction, "The Last Mrs. Summers"

    ReplyDelete