If you get it into your head that cooking is difficult then it will be. Of course if you’ve bought yourself a copy of the Roux Brothers on Patisserie and don’t just want to gaze at the pictures then it can be.
However some things are as simple are they are filled with joy. Summer Pudding is just an artful means by which a non cooking nation can assemble the English summer on a plate and take a spoonful of sun and warm rain.
This isn’t quite a classic summer pudding. That requires a mix of raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants and well, blow me, if it wasn’t impossible to get blackcurrants from either the local greengrocer or Sainsbury (boo hiss). You spend half your life resenting fruits that aren’t as sugary as strawberries and then, when you finally realise how sublime a thing a blackcurrant can be, you can’t have ‘em for love nor money.
Nope. They’ve been displaced by the damned blueberry – a fine, tasty, healthful thing to be sure (and supermarkets love them because they’re robust, don’t spoil in transit and last for ages) – but it’s not a blackcurrant.
So I made this one with strawberries instead of blackcurrants and brioche (yes, I know, sacrilege) instead of good white and possibly slightly stale bread or even Madeira cake.
As it was it turned out a beautiful stripy pink and creamy beige, just like “the most important, the most beautiful, the most magical… saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world”.
So as it’s not quite a summer pudding it shall be a Bagpuss Pudding and even the mice on the mouse organ could cook up this one without the need for tricks like their naughty chocolate biscuit factory.
So here goes:
One long loaf brioche
70g sugar (less will do)
Line a medium sized pudding basin with slices of brioche. Plug any holes with additional bits.
Put the fruit in a pan over a moderate to slow heat and add the sugar. Cook until the raspberries have started to soften and the sugar has dissolved.
Let the mixture cool slightly and pour into the lined pudding basin. Make sure it’s very full and add further slices of brioche as a lid.
Put a small plate on top of the bowl and place a heavy weight on top (500g / 1kg is plenty). The idea is that it should all get squashed down very tight.
Now the hard bit: put it in the fridge and leave it there overnight. Try not to think about it.
Serve with good vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or even, if you’re a dragon, with custard. It’s the kind of pudding that, just like Bagpuss, will make everything right with the world.
What’s more, it’s so easy, that no one has the excuse of not being able to cook as a reason not to make it. So go on!