Autumn pudding

Autumn pudding

By
From
The Herb & Flower Cookbook
Serves
6
Cooking time
10 mins

I love the sweet, summery flavours of the classic British summer pudding, all kept moist and gooey by soaking the bread – it’s always seems impressive when anyone actually bothers to make one. It was the recipe writer Lucas Hollweg who first suggested to me that the pudding could transcend the seasons, swapping high summer berries for soft early autumn fruit. I’ve gone a step further and thrown in the pear and some thyme which really makes this a serious dessert, the herb counteracting the sweetness of the fruit. The whole thing evokes the full September hedgerow, and will stop you from lamenting the departure of summer.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 sweet apples, cored, such as Braeburn
400g plums, stoned
2 juicy pears, such as william, cored
400g blackberries
2 sprigs thyme, plus extra for serving
200g sugar
8-10 slices white bread, crusts cut off

Method

  1. Chop the apple, plums and pear into chunks that are roughly the size of the blackberries. Place all of the fruit in a large saucepan with the thyme and sugar. Add 75 ml of water and set over a low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and the sugar has dissolved. Strain the mixture with a jug set below to catch all the juice. Set the fruit aside to cool.
  2. Lay a slice of bread on your work surface and press the bottom of a 1-litre pudding bowl on top of it. The circular imprint of the base should be on the bread; cut it out. Press the bread circle into the bottom of the bowl. Set one slice of bread aside for later and use the remaining slices to line the sides, pressing them together so that they overlap and are sealed. Once you have lined the entire bowl, cut off any bread that overlaps the top and set the trimmings aside for later. Pour most of the fruit juice carefully over the bread so that it turns red and you can’t see any white.
  3. Spoon the fruit into the bread bowl until it reaches the top. Place the last slice of bread on top, using any leftover slithers to fill any gaps, and pour over the remaining juice. Place a small weighted bowl on top of the pudding and leave the whole thing to set in the fridge for 2–3 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, place a plate over the top and carefully turn the pudding upside down to tip it out onto the plate. Slice into portions and place in bowls. Add some double cream and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Substitute the thyme with...

  • Basil, mint or rosemary.
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