500 gmstrawberries (about 2 punnets), halved, hulled, plus extra to serve300 gmmulberries (about 1½ punnets), stems removed, plus extra to serve250 gmraspberries (about 2 punnets), plus extra to serve250 gmblueberries (about 2 punnets), plus extra to serve350 gmcaster sugar, plus extra for sugaring mouldFor greasing:butter12slices of soft white square bread (about 1 loaf), crusts removed200 gmdouble creamSeedsscraped from 1 vanilla beanTo serve:pure icing sugar (optional)
Combine berries and caster sugar in a large saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally until juices are released and sugar is dissolved (5-6 minutes). Strain through a sieve into a bowl and reserve berries and liquid separately.
Butter and sugar a 2-litre pudding bowl. From one bread slice, cut out a round large enough to fit pudding bowl base, brush with berry liquid and place brushed-side down in bowl. Cut 8 bread slices in half diagonally to form triangles and cut remaining slices in half vertically to form rectangles. Brush one side of each slice with berry liquid. Snugly line side of bowl with slices, brushed-side down, starting with a rectangle and 2 triangles. Repeat with remaining bread, overlapping to fit and fill gaps (reserve 8 triangles for the top; there may be some bread slices left over). Spoon berries into centre and press gently down to level, then spoon half the remaining berry liquid over, ensuring bread edges are soaked. Arrange reserved bread triangles on top, overlapping to cover. Pour remaining berry liquid over, weight with a small plate and refrigerate until firm and flavours develop (overnight).
Whisk cream and vanilla seeds in a bowl to combine and set aside. Turn out pudding onto a serving plate, top with remaining berries, dust with icing sugar and serve with vanilla cream.
Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day
What's in a name? Larousse Gastronomique states that in the
past the term "pudding" referred to all boiled dishes - France's
boudin noir, for instance, being a prime example - and that it
wasn't until the 17th century that the term was used to describe
sweet dishes as well.
Today when we hear "pudding" we typically marry the word in our
minds to a slowly cooked wintry dessert, something along the lines
of a steamed plum pudding, a sticky date pud or a self-saucing
chocolate number. But one of the few exceptions to this rule is
summer pudding. It's uncooked, served chilled and showcases the
best of summer's berry bounty.
Summer pudding wasn't always its name. In the Oxford Companion to
Food, Alan Davidson writes that in the 19th century the sweet was
called "hydropathic pudding", because the bread-based dessert was
served at English health resorts as a lighter alternative to its
more traditional pastry-based counterparts. The name was changed to
the rather catchier summer pudding in the 20th century, with the
term first appearing in print in a book written in 1904 by a
missionary in India.
A great summer pudding requires a good mix of berries - here we've
used mulberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. These
berries are lightly sweetened with sugar and then moulded into a
buttered and sugared soft white-bread lining. Pressing the pudding
overnight allows the berry juices to seep into the bread, creating
a deep crimson stain. The juicy, soft and delicate texture of the
result is just beautiful served at any time of the day with a
dollop of double cream.