Summer is a wonderful time for unctuous puddings. Sweet ones, sharp ones, gooey ones and normally in some shade of pink. I wish I had the willpower to buy millions of summer berries and freeze them so I can knock up a pudding anytime I fancy, but I can barely resist them enough for them to make it to the saucepan. How can you go wrong with inky blackcurrants and vibrant gooseberries? Over the weekend I had occasion to make luscious puddings with both of these fruits. First a slightly sweet, sticky blackcurrant summer pudding and then a sharp, creamy gooseberry fool.
To make the sumptuous summer pudding, take around 500g blackcurrants and your favourite programme on the television. You’ll need to sit and take the flowers and stalks off each berry. It may seem monotonous at first but it is actually quite pleasurable and satisfying. Once complete, heat the berries very slowly with just a tiny bit of water and a little sugar in a saucepan until they start to burst. Taste the berries and add more sugar if your tooth is sweet. Remove from the heat.
Pour in your blackcurrants and all of their juice, put one more piece of crustless bread on top and then place a heavy weight on top of the pudding. I put a plate over the top and a lead weight but anything heavy enough to squeeze the juice into the bread will do. Refrigerate for 24 hours and be prepared for a slight battle when you try and extract the pudding from the bowl. A few careful insertions of a knife and it will just plop straight out.
Apologies for the lack of photograph of the finished pudding, it was consumed with so much enthusiasm that the evidence was destroyed within seconds. Just so you know, it is actually against summer pudding law to eat it without blankets of thick cream.
I feel sorry for the gooseberry. It doesn’t have the most attractive name, it’s hairy, the shrub is covered in thorns and it is often associated with the supermarket version of fool. Red gooseberries are much sweeter than their green counterpart and make for a much prettier finished pudding. You’ll need about 500g gooseberries and 300ml double cream. The gooseberries will also need their flowers and stalks removed before being heated gently in a pan with a little sugar and water. I have heard of adding a little elderflower cordial after heating. Check the sweetness before removing from the heat.