- 1.5kg mixed soft fruits (e.g. raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and small strawberries)
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 6–7 thick slices of day-old good-quality white bread
- lightly whipped cream, to serve
- small selection of berries
- few mint leaves
- few pansies
- icing sugar
- Remove the stalks and hulls from the fruit and rinse. Set aside.
- Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife and put the seeds in a large pan over a low heat with the water, lemon juice and sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add the prepared fruit. Cook for three to four minutes until the fruits start to release their juices. Taste to see if you need to add any more sugar.
- While the fruit is cooking, hold the pan by the handle and move it around. Try not to mix the fruit with a spoon as this can bruise it and make it mushy. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a large bowl. Reserve the juices. Leave the fruit and juice to cool.
- Meanwhile, remove the crusts from the bread. Line a 1kg pudding basin with a large sheet of clingfilm. This will help the pudding come out of the basin intact. Now, line the basin with bread dipped in the reserved juices. Cut a circle from one slice of bread and place it in the bottom of the basin. Cut another circle that will fit the top of the basin and set it aside. Cut the remaining bread into Mars Bar-shaped pieces that are long enough to reach from the bottom to the top edge of the basin. Arrange these around the inside of the basin. Be as gentle as possible: too much handling or squashing and the bread will become dense.
- When the fruit has cooled, spoon it into the bread-lined basin. Gently press it down so there are no gaps. Place the bread lid on top and gently press it down. Make sure the fruit is completely covered with the bread, then trim off any excess from the edges. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the top to cover, then stand the basin on a large plate and weigh the top down with another plate. Refrigerate overnight.
- To unmold, stand over the sink and reverse the basin on to the plate. Remove the basin and the clingfilm. Wipe away any excess juices, decorate with a few berries, some mint leaves and some pansies, then dust with icing sugar. Serve with lightly whipped cream.
Say goodbye to the warmer months with a raid of the kitchen garden
As I get older, I get sadder that yet another summer is almost over. We are so lucky to live in this very beautiful country. I love the warmth of the summer and the longer nights are such a delight – as is this summer pudding recipe.
August is a very busy month in our Edinburgh restaurants.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is in full swing, keeping us busy up at Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on the Royal Mile; the Rembrandt Summer Blockbuster at The Scottish National Gallery keeps us on our toes at The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant, as well as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh Book Festival buzzing on George Street. The city is at its very best during August.
Don’t let any local tell you they don’t like the festivals and that the city is becoming overloaded with tourists. A high per centage of Festival, Book Festival and Fringe tickets are bought by the Edinburgh population, so they do love the festivals even if they may not like admitting it.
The winter months are getting longer and longer and the independent restaurants need as many tourists as possible to keep the wheels turning. Tourists allow our core business to remain healthy, which allows us to make sustainable choices to support a much larger community of artisan suppliers from around Scotland.
During these months, our kitchen garden is also bulging with produce. August has all the family on harvest duty at least four days a week. The raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries and blueberries are at their best. It takes a small army to gather them all before the birds have their own feast.
As a treat for all the hard work, an all-time favourite is hot fruit with vanilla ice cream. Try very gently simmering a selection of any soft fruits then pouring a generous amount over some really good ice cream. These hot and cold sensations are a lovely way to end the summer with a hint of the chillier months to come.
Find out more at www.contini.com
See more of Carina’s recipes for us here and discover a new one each month in
The Scots Magazine