Elderflower summer pudding

Elderflower summer pudding

Paris Pastry Club
Helen Cathcart

A somewhat French version of the pudding d’été (summer pudding) I grew up on. We’d slice brioche and top it with barely cooked berries. At times, it just came with vanilla ice-cream, but then during that one early summer week a year just before elderberry trees start snowing blossoms, we’d make elderflower sorbet. And I think you should too.

For the elderflower cordial


Quantity Ingredient
1.25kg water
250g caster sugar
500g fresh elderflowers, stems removed
200g lemon juice

For the elderflower sorbet

Quantity Ingredient
280g water
75g glucose syrup
100g caster sugar
100g dehydrated glucose
9g sorbet stabiliser
900g elderflower cordial

For the berry compote

Quantity Ingredient
200g strawberries, halved
160g raspberries
120g blackberries
80g blueberries
100g elderflower cordial
70g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds

For the soaking syrup

Quantity Ingredient
500g strawberries, hulled
50g caster sugar

For the brioche base and cubes

Quantity Ingredient
The only brioche recipe you’ll ever need
200g caster sugar


  1. The soaking syrup

    Cook the strawberries and sugar in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring every now and then. Transfer to a sieve lined with muslin cloth and drain without pushing. Discard the strawberries and reserve the syrup.
  2. Mix 150 g of the juices from the berry compote into the syrup and cool down.
  3. The brioche base

    With a serrated knife, carefully slice away the crust from the brioche loaf and cut 6 x 2 cm slices. Cut the remaining brioche into 2 cm cubes – you'll need about 18 in total.
  4. About 20 minutes before serving, add the slices of brioche to a dish of the soaking syrup, turning every few minutes to soak them evenly.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of sugar in a frying pan until it caramelises. Add a few brioche cubes to the pan and cook for a few minutes, turning to coat all sides in caramel. Transfer to a tray lined with baking paper and repeat with more sugar and more brioche cubes.
  6. The elderflower cordial

    Bring the water and sugar to a rolling boil in a large pan. Add the flowers and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, cover with a lid and infuse for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing the juices through. Allow to cool down to room temperature, then add the lemon juice. Keep in the fridge until needed.
  8. The elderflower sorbet

    Combine the water and glucose syrup in a large pan over medium heat and bring to 45°C. Combine the sugar, dehydrated glucose and stabiliser in a bowl and add to the water, whisking as you do so.
  9. Bring to a rolling boil, then remove from the heat, add the elderflower cordial and mix well. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  10. Churn according to your ice-cream machine manufacturer’s instructions and transfer to a plastic container. Freeze for a couple of hours before using.
  11. The berry compote

    Bring all of the ingredients to the boil in a pan over low heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool to room temperature, then tip into a fine-mesh sieve (do not push through). Put the berries in a bowl and keep in the fridge until needed. Save the juices to add to the soaking syrup.
  13. To serve

    Arrange a slice of brioche on each dessert plate. Carefully spoon on some berry compote and top with 3 cubes of caramelised brioche cubes. Finish with a quenelle of elderflower sorbet.
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