Originally known as "hydropathic pudding" this 19th century dessert is said to have been served at health spas and resorts as an alternative to the less healthy pastry desserts. It has become a very popular, classic English pudding as it is easy to make, it uses up slightly stale bread and makes the most of the rich colour and tangy flavours of delicious summer berries. For an added burst of flavour, chef Matthew Kemp cooks his berries with a touch of mint.
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 250 g (1 cup) sugar
- 250 g blackcurrants (or mixed berries)
- 1 spring mint
- 1 day-old loaf of sliced white bread
- 200 g small strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 100 g blackberries or mulberries
- 100 g blueberries
- 100 g raspberries, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 4 hours
To make the syrup, boil the water and sugar together in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and return 125 ml of the syrup to the pan and add the berries and mint (refrigerate the remaining syrup for another use). Cook until the fruit is soft. Discard the mint then puree the coulis in a food processor or rub through a sieve.
Cut the bread into circles (leaving the crusts behind) to fit inside 8 large ramekins – you will need 3 circles per ramekin. Dip the bread circles into the coulis and lay out on a tray. Set aside.
Reheat the remaining coulis in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over moderate heat. Add the strawberries, blackberries (or mulberries) and blueberries. Bring back to the boil then immediately remove from the heat. Drain off one-third of the coulis and reserve, and transfer the remaining fruit and coulis to a bowl to cool.
Place a soaked bread circle in the bottom of each ramekin followed by 1 tbsp of the fruit, another circle of bread and more fruit. Top with a final circle of bread and a small amount of coulis. Press down firmly. Chill and set in the refrigerator for 4 hours or more.
Run a knife around the inside of the ramekins and turn the puddings out onto serving plates. Garnish with the raspberries and drizzle with reserved coulis. Serve with luscious thick cream if desired.