A lazy Sunday, perhaps watching the cricket or the tennis; a gentle breeze blowing and a glass of Pimm's in the hand is perhaps, the quintessential picture of an English summer afternoon. Pimm's is certainly the favoured drink when the weather warms up but it does have many more uses than simply a fruity alcoholic drink. A Pimm's Jelly has long been a lovely use for the drink, and a favourite way (and if you haven't tried it then you must) is a Pimm's Summer Pudding.
A Summer Pudding is essentially days old bread, preferably the thin sliced white so loved in Britain, lining a pudding basin and filled with the best of summer berries. There is little cooking to do, just a gentle warming of the fruit to release the juices and time for the pudding to chill.
Adding a good splash of Pimm's not only changes the flavour, the drink mixes well with the juice from the berries and you have an all-round summer smasher on the plate.
The success of nay Summer Pudding lies in the freshness of the berries. Yes, you can use frozen as long as they are well defrosted first, but far superior, are freshly picked, seasonal fruits. They are at their sweetest and best at that point. The Pimm's pudding is adults-only, so save it for grown up barbecues, or suppers. Or you can pop the pudding into a Picnic and off you go - just hope the sunshine shines.
- 4 tablespoons Pimm's No 1
- 115g ( 4 oz) caster sugar
- 450g (1 lb) mixed summer fruits
- 115-150g (4 - 6 oz) white bread (thin-sliced, crusts removed)
- Garnish: whipped cream or custard
Place the Pimm's and the sugar together into a saucepan large enough to hold the fruits as well. Gently heat the two but do not boil, boiling will destroy the flavours of the Pimm's.
Add the berries and very, very gently, warm them through in the Pimm's until the fruits just start to soften but importantly, retain their shape.
Quickly strain the berries into a colander placed over a jug. Let the berries stand for a few minutes but do not be tempted to press them in any way, their weight will help to drain the juice through.
Cut the bread into 4 triangles per slice, dip briefly into the juice and use to line a ¾-litre pudding basin ensuring there are no gaps. This is like doing a jigsaw and with a little patience, you should be able to create a seam-free bread mould.
Fill with the strained fruits and cover the top with more bread slices to create a lid.
Place a saucer with a weight on top (a can of tomatoes or beans is ideal) and leave overnight in a cool place.
Before serving, carefully turn the pudding out onto a plate. Taste the reserved juices and add a little more Pimm's if you feel it needs it. Serve the pudding with the juices, whipped cream or custard.
Which Fruits to Use for a Summer Pudding
Soft summer fruits for summer pudding must have a rich, strong colour and flavour. Great berries to use include raspberries, strawberries, red and blackcurrants, damsons and blackberries.