Two book signings and 5 exhausting days at San Diego Comic Con promoting A Feast of Ice and Fire later, we’ve made it back to the east coast filled with oysters, avocados, and convention center pretzels. Craving something sweet, summery, and easy to make, I headed to the kitchen. Enter summer pudding.
Summer pudding is a perfect way to use the overflowing bounty of summer berries in your yard (or local fruit stand if you live in the city like I do!). It is a popular misconception that summer pudding used to be called ‘hydropathic pudding’ and was served in health spas. In actuality, the mostly raw fruit contained in summer pudding was considered extremely unhealthy till the mid 20th century, at which time summer pudding as we know it was developed.
The earliest recipe that resembles a summer pudding was published in 1902 by S. Beaty-Pownall in the Sweets No. 6 cookery book, however it still calls for hot stewed fruit. John Ayto tells us that it wasn’t until the 1930′s that the dessert was dubbed ‘summer pudding.’
In the summer months the traditional fruits in the pudding include currants, raspberries, black currants, and occasionally a few strawberries. Blackberries are often added closer to autumn, and they, as well as blueberries, create a more purple hue than the traditional appearance. Whether a red or purple pudding is your plan, be sure to use day-old sliced bread. As in making bread pudding, the slightly stale bread absorbs the berry juice much better, creating a more vibrant presentation.