Individual summer puddings

Homemade summer pudding served with creme fraiche and currants 1
Summer pudding is one of my all-time favourite desserts; I think it could even give the chocolate fondant a run for its money. The pudding has a nostalgic, exciting feeling for me, partly because it meant that the berries and currants at my dad’s allotment were ripe and ready to be used which in turn signaled that summer was well and truly here, but also because I think it’s the first properly impressive pudding that I learnt to make. It’s a sinfully easy recipe, but turning out a perfectly set pudding and slicing into the stunning pink exterior to reveal the jumble of different summer berries inside is a very satisfying feeling indeed.

This is based on a Katie Stuart recipe (the kitchen goddess that our household regularly turn to for instruction, and who I’ve mentioned many times before), though she makes one large pudding to serve about 6 people. If you’re feeding a crowd then I’d highly recommend this – just double to quantities of fruit and sugar below to fill a 2 pint pudding basin (about 1.1 litres) and you will need to use a bit more of the loaf of bread. If, like me, you’re catering for less people then these make the cutest little treats.

A few tips before we begin: make sure you do use stale bread, so remember to buy a loaf in advance. I bought mine two days before I made these and it worked perfectly. Use whatever combination of summer berries that you prefer or have available, but try to use more redcurrants than other berries. For example, I used 180g redcurrants, 100g raspberries, 100g blackcurrants and 70g raspberries. Katie Stuart recommends 450g redcurrants, 225g raspberries and 225g strawberries for one large pudding (double this recipe). You do need to leave the puddings in the fridge overnight so that they set properly so no short cuts here I’m afraid! Inevitably you will be left with crusts and small cuttings from the slices of bread – throw them into a food processor or blender and blitz to breadcrumbs. They can be stored in airtight containers in the freezer for months and used as you require for recipes.
Turning scraps of stale white bread into bread crumbs to freeze
One year ago:
Stuffed courgettes
Ingredients for summer pudding
Ingredients (makes 3 individual puddings)
One loaf of stale white bread (you will use about half of it – the rest will make perfect toast!)
450g summer berries
70g castor sugar
Crème fraiche and extra berries to serve

1. Rinse 3 small pudding basins (150ml capacity each) with cold water and thinly cut about half the loaf into 1cm slices – you can always cut more later if you need it.
Sliced stale white bread for summer pudding
2. Trim the crusts from the slices of bread and cut 6 circles – 3 small circles for the bottom of the bowls and 3 larger ones to cover the top – and enough wedges to cover the sides of the basins. Firmly press the small circles into the bottom of the basins and do the same with the wedges round the sides. Make sure there are no gaps at all in the bread lining and plug any with small pieces of the leftover bread.
Removing the crusts from slices of stale white bread
Lining mini pudding basins with stale white bread
3. Put the fruit and sugar into a small saucepan and cover with a lid. Place over a gentle heat for 5 minutes until the fruit has softened.
Summer berries and castor sugar
Summer berries and castor sugar cooked until the fruit has softened
4. Spoon the hot fruit into the pots, ensuring an even distribution of the different types of berries. Fill the basins right to the top, pouring over as much of the juice as possible.
Cooked summer berries ready to fill pudding basins
Filling the bread lined pudding basins with summer berries
Bread lined pudding basins filled with summer berries 3
If you have any extra juice left at the end then don’t throw it away – you can pour a little extra liquid over the puddings once they are turned out, especially useful if there are any little pieces of bread that haven’t been completely soaked through.

5. Place the basins on a large plate or tray (some of the juice will probably spill over the top so this keeps your fridge shelves clean!) and gently press the last 3 circles of bread on top of the puddings.
Topping the pudding basins with circles of stale white bread
6. Put small plates or saucers on top of each pudding and weight down with tins or other suitably-sized heavy objects. Refrigerate the puddings at least overnight.
Weighting down the individual summer puddings
7. When you’re ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of each of the puddings and tip out onto small plates. If you have saved some, spoon over a little extra juice.
Homemade summer pudding 1
Serve with a generous dollop of crème fraiche and a few fresh berries or currants.
Homemade summer pudding served with creme fraiche and currants 2
Sweet, soft, sharp and undeniably summery.
Cutting into the mini summer pudding
What do you like to do with summer berries? Do you have any favourite, nostalgic puddings?

Bread and Butter Pudding

Marmalade and raisin bread and butter pudding, served with creme fraiche
This weekend was mostly about painting, even more trips to Ikea (do they ever end?), hammering things into walls and more painting. In between we did manage to fit in a meal at Kyloe Restaurant and Grill, to belatedly celebrate our birthdays and, of course, our new home. If you are a carnivore and looking for somewhere special in Edinburgh for a celebratory meal then I highly recommend trying out Kyloe: our waiter was lovely and talked us through all the different cuts of beef in detail; the bubbly and wine were delicious; and the food really was amazing, not just the steaks which of course were divine, but the starters, sides and puddings too.

Anyway, by the time Sunday evening came around we were in desperate need of sofa + dinner + Gogglebox (Leon is a hero, AMIRIGHT?). I wanted a pudding, but couldn’t find the energy for anything fancy, and there was a quarter of a loaf of bread going stale in the cupboard that just seemed like a waste to throw out. Bread and butter pudding it was.

For some reason, as a child I hated bread and butter pudding, but after having my grandparents’ version some years ago, with marmalade spread on the slices of bread and caramelised raisins scattered over the top, I was converted. It’s a rich, soft, sweet, tart, sticky hug in a bowl.
Ingredients for homemade marmalade bread and butter pudding
Ingredients (serves 2)
A few tablespoons of very soft butter
3 slices of stale white bread (or any other “breaded item” e.g. baguette, croissants, etc)
A few teaspoons of marmalade
40g raisins
1 egg
150ml milk
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp muscavado or Demerara sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 2 and butter an oven-proof dish.
Buttering an oven-proof dish for bread and butter pudding
2. Cut the crusts off the bread, spread with butter and cut in half to make triangles.
Cutting the crusts off the bread and spreading with butter and marmalade for bread and butter pudding
3. Spread each triangle with a little marmalade and layer into your dish, sprinkling a few raisins between each slice.
Layering the bread and raisins for bread and butter pudding
4. Beat the egg well, with the milk and caster sugar.
Beat the eggs, milk and sugar together for bread and butter pudding
5. Top the bread with the remaining raisins and pour over the liquid. Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes.
Top the bread with raisins
Pour over the milk and egg mixture for bread and butter pudding
6. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and bake for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is set and the top is golden brown.
Bread and butter pudding topped with brown sugar and ready for baking
Serve warm and for extra indulgence top with cream, ice-cream (Ross’ favourite) or crème fraiche (my favourite, as the sourness balances out the sweet pudding).
Marmalade and raisin bread and butter pudding
This is a really basic recipe that uses store cupboard ingredients, plus leftovers that would otherwise be thrown away, but the results feel like a real treat. Adapt the recipe to whatever bread, milk, dried fruit and sugar you have in the house, but trust me on the marmalade!