summer pudding with violet syrup

summer pudding is quintessentially English and worth making if you are a fan of the berries which are now in season. i made this using a selection of red currants, black currants and blueberries from able & cole plus raspberries from my freezer.

apparently the inclusion of red, black or white currants is important to the texture of the finished dish and you need to avoid adding too many dark coloured fruits so that the end result is pinky-red in colour. i also read that strawberries are a no-no but i'm not sure why - can anyone enlighten me? i also wonder how cherries would work.

i also think it's important to ensure that you don't add too much sugar when you prepare the fruit. the tartness of the berries should be retained, especially if, like me, you fancy eating your pudding drizzled with violet syrup as well as the traditional cream!

summer pudding is very easy to make but does need to be done a day before you want to eat it. simply prepare your fruit and cook briefly with sugar and water so that the fruit starts to collapse. for a pudding made in a 500ml bowl i used c300ml water and a few tablespoons of sugar for c750g fruit. drain the fruit through a seive over a jug. to check that the bowl you are using is the right size put your fruit into it and it should nearly fill it.

line your bowl with cling film to help you remove the pudding for serving. to assemble the pudding, use slices of white bread to line the bowl - remove the crusts, put a circle of bread at the bottom and then build up the sides, making sure there aren't any cracks. i dipped my bread in the fruit syrup that was in the jug to ensure that the outer edges would stain pink.

fill with the fruit, top with fruit syrup and create a bread lid to cover the top of your pudding and cover with cling now need to weight down your pudding - i used a small pack of sugar and refrigerate overnight. it's worth resting your bowl on a plate so any juices that escape are caught on the plate and don't drip all over your fridge!

serve with double cream and the extra fruit syrup. if you want to fancy things up, add cassis or another liqueur to the fruit syrup and/or drizzle with violet syrup.