created: 2005-07-17 23:40:44
We recently had this classic English pudding at St. John's restaurant in London, and then, upon spotting redcurrants at our local supermarket here in L.A, were inspired to make it at home. We followed Delia Smith's recipe from her Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, which is the one my Mum always uses. It's perfect for hot weather as it barely requires any cooking, just time in the fridge, and is very refreshing. It would be a good dessert to serve to company, as it can (and, in fact, must) be made in advance; is easy to put together, and is impressive-looking--and impressive-tasting: it's more than the sum of its parts.
8 oz (225 g) redcurrants 4 oz (110 g) blackcurrants 1 lb (450 g) raspberries It may be heresy to say so, but I think other fruits could be substituted, given that redcurrants and blackcurrants aren't widely available in the U.S. We used redcurrants, blackberries, and (frozen) raspberries, and it was delicious. I think blueberries would probably work well too. 5 oz (150 g) caster sugar, or to taste, according to the sweetness of the fruit. 7-8 medium slices white bread from a large loaf (Delia says "the texture of sliced white is most unsuitable," but we thought it was fine--we did cut the crusts off. I wouldn't recommend substituting brown bread). You will also need a 11/2 pint (850 ml) pudding basin (i.e., a round bowl), lightly buttered. Separate the redcurrants and blackcurrants from their stalks by holding the tip of each stalk firmly between finger and thumb and sliding it between the prongs of a fork pushing the fork downwards, so pulling off the berries as it goes. Rinse all the fruits, picking out any raspberries that look at all musty. Place the fruits with the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat and let them cook for about 3-5 minutes, only until the sugar has dissolved and the juices begin to run – don't overcook and so spoil the fresh flavour. Now remove the fruit from the heat, and line the pudding basin with the slices of bread, overlapping them and sealing well by pressing the edges together. Fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread, so that no juice can get through when you add the fruit. Pour the fruit and juice in (except for about two thirds of a cupful), then cover the pudding with another slice of bread. Then place a small plate or saucer (one that will fit exactly inside the rim of the bowl) on top, and on top of that place a 3 lb or 4 lb (1.3 kg or 1.8 kg) weight, and leave in the fridge overnight. Just before serving the pudding, turn it out on to a large serving dish (you may need to slide a knife around the edge of the pudding, and then tap on the bottom of the bowl with a spoon...) and spoon the reserved juice all over, to soak any bits of bread that still look white. Serve cut into wedges, with a bowl of thick cream--or ice-cream--on the table. It's also really good with thick yogurt for breakfast.