"Nothing says English summer to me quite like a summer pudding, and I return to this recipe year after year, when our beautiful soft summer fruits are at their peak," says Skye Gyngell, the Australian born chef and owner of the ethereal Spring restaurant in Somerset House, London.
" I make a sponge rather than using the more traditional stale bread – the extra effort is worth it. I also use more currants than other fruits as they keep the sweetness in check. Serve each portion topped with crème fraîche or thick cream."
- Yield : 8-10
- For the sponge:
- unsalted butter - 15g, plus extra for greasing
- organic free-range eggs - 7 x 55g
- caster sugar - 375g
- plain flour - 360g, sifted
- For the fruit:
- blackcurrants - 300g
- redcurrants - 300g
- caster sugar - 250g
- lemon - 1, juice and finely grated zest
- blackberries - 200g
- raspberries - 200g
- strawberries - 100g
For the sponge, preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4) and grease a 33 x 23cm baking tin. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat; set aside to cool. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until pale and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted.
In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the remaining sugar, whisking slowly to begin with, then increasing the speed slightly after a minute or two. Continue to whisk until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
Carefully fold the flour into the yolk and sugar mix, a third at a time, alternating with warm water (five tablespoons in total). Fold in the whites, a third at a time. Finally, fold in the butter. Spread the mixture thinly and evenly in the prepared baking tin. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the sponge is just golden and dry to the touch. Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
Place the blackcurrants and redcurrants in a saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice and cook over a medium heat until the fruit starts to release its juices. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the fruit and the lemon zest. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
Line a one-litre pudding basin with clingfilm, leaving plenty overhanging all round. Using pastry cutters, cut two rounds of sponge, one to fit the bottom of the basin and one the top. Place the smaller disc in the bottom of the basin. Now cut long, tapering strips of sponge and use to line the sides of the basin, overlapping them slightly and pressing tightly to ensure that there are no gaps.
Using a slotted spoon, place the fruit in the sponge-lined basin, filling it to the brim. Spoon on the juices, reserving a few spoonfuls for serving. Lay the other sponge disc on top. Fold over the clingfilm to seal and place a saucer on top that just fits inside the rim of the basin. Weigh down with a tin (or something similar) and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, fold back the cling film and invert the pudding on to a deep plate. Using a pastry brush, smear any pale areas with the reserved juice.