About this recipe:What an amazing dish the British summer pudding is – simplicity itself, and as perfect as a midsummer's day. The peaches or nectarines add a slightly different dimension to this version, a marvellous way of eating a nice large portion of ripe fresh fruit, not cooked at all so as to retain all its nutrients.
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) mixed summer fruit (raspberries, blueberries, redcurrants, sliced strawberries)
2 ripe peaches or nectarines, stoned and diced
3 tbsp sugar, or to taste
150 ml (5 fl oz) cranberry juice
8 thin slices white bread, about 200 g (7 oz) in total, preferably 1–2 days old
To serve (optional)
reduced-fat crème fraîche
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Method Prep:10hr20min › Ready in:10hr20min
Crush the different types of fruit individually, to be sure all the skins are broken and the fruit is pulpy. Put all the fruit in a large bowl with the sugar and cranberry juice and stir to mix. Leave to macerate for 2 hours.
Cut the crusts from the bread and cut the slices into strips or triangles. Fit the bread into a 1 litre (2 pint) pudding basin to line the bottom and sides, reserving enough bread to cover the top. Fill in any gaps with small bits of bread.
Reserve 3–4 tbsp of juice from the mixed fruit, then gently pour the fruit mixture into the bread-lined pudding basin. Top with the remaining bread. Cover with a plate that just fits inside the rim of the basin, setting it directly on top of the bread, and then place a heavy weight such as a can of food on top. Place the basin in the fridge to chill for 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, turn the pudding out onto a serving dish. Use the reserved fruit juice to brush or pour over any parts of the bread that have not been coloured. Serve with crème fraîche, if liked.
Some more ideas
Use an enriched bread such as Jewish challah or brioche instead of white bread. * For an autumn pudding, substitute raisin bread for white bread, and instead of the summer fruits and peaches, use 2 large dessert apples, diced, 2 pears, diced, 30 g (1 oz) sultanas, 30 g (1 oz) dried cranberries and 50 g (1¾ oz) dried apricots, chopped. Put the fruit in a saucepan with 300 ml (10 fl oz) apple juice and ½ tsp ground cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then poach gently for 5–7 minutes or until the apples are tender. Pour into the bread-lined mould and weight as in step 3. Serve decorated with diced sharon fruit and/or a scattering of pomegranate seeds, if you like.
Raspberries, redcurrants and strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C (blueberries are a good source). This vitamin is not only an antioxidant with an important role in preventing heart disease, but is also essential for good wound-healing and resistance to infections. * Low in fat and high in carbohydrate and fibre, this is a delicious dessert in a diet for a healthy heart.