A few weeks ago, we wrote about the beauty of a good summer pudding in our column for Suffolk News. With this week’s heatwave and the realisation that summer is not quite over, we thought we should share it on our blog. Read on to find out why this is a dish close to David Marjoram’s heart and try our summer pudding recipe (courtesy of head chef Luke at The Fox in Bulmer Tye).
“The classics are classic for a reason. One of the common conversations I have with our chefs is around the style and type of food we serve in our pubs. We always want to be seasonal and, where possible, using regional ingredients but what we do with those seasonal, regional ingredients is a much bigger (and it seems never ending) debate. Chefs by their nature are creative, they love to play with food, to come up with interesting and delicious new ideas. Embracing and encouraging that creativity is important for us in keeping our menus interesting. Perhaps even more importantly, it keeps our chefs interested and engaged.
So, if I’m talking about encouraging creativity in our kitchens, why did I start this piece saying ‘The classics are classic for a reason’? Surely cooking classic food flies in the face of encouraging creativity? I opened with that as I believe passionately that we shouldn’t always try to re-invent the wheel. As a rule, the classic, traditional dishes have stood the test of time beyond all other reasons because they’re delicious. They will almost always be a blend of the best seasonal ingredients put together in a way that generation after generation have loved, maybe enhanced or tweaked a little and then passed on. It would seem to me almost arrogant not to embrace that multi-generational culinary wisdom and have some classics scattered across our menus.
The sweet spot that we try to hit is a blend of these two ways of looking at food. The creative, quirky dishes that the chefs get the most satisfaction from designing and producing sit proudly alongside the sort of dish that my Nana would have made and that we all love to eat. Sometimes because of a hint of nostalgia but mainly because they’re delicious.
Luke Foster is our Head Chef at The Fox, Bulmer Tye, just outside Sudbury. His summer menu features what is to my mind one of the all-time great British classics, the humble (but hard to beat) summer pudding. A simple combination of sweet but tart ripe berries, white bread and a dollop of cream. Seasonal, classic and bloody delicious.
THE FOX SUMMER PUDDING
400g mixed summer berries
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
4 slices white bread
Place the mixed berries, sugar and lemon zest into a large saucepan. On a medium heat, bring the berries to the boil until all the sugar has dissolved and the berries have started to release their juices. Simmer for a further 2 minutes.
Separate the cooked berries from the juice using a sieve or strainer.
Now that you have separated the berries from the juice, you can start to build your puddings. In the pub, we use aluminium Dariole moulds, but if you don’t have these individual pudding basins, you can use a small teacup. Line your moulds with clingfilm. From the 4 slices of bread, cut 2 small discs, 2 large discs and finally 2 long strips (the same height as your moulds). These will form the tops, sides and bottoms of the puddings. Non-fluted pastry or biscuit cutters are great for the discs if you have them.
Soak the two smaller discs in the berry juice making sure the bread is fully submerged and saturated. Firmly push the soaked disc into the bottom of the moulds. Repeat the soaking process with the long strips and use those to line the sides of the moulds pushing firmly into place and overlapping on the join. You will find that the bread becomes quite malleable, so filling in any gaps shouldn’t be a problem.
Spoon the mixed berries into the bread-lined moulds filling them right to the top.
Soak the last two larger discs of bread and place on top to seal the berries inside. Use the palm of your hand to push down on the pudding to help seal everything together. Cover with clingfilm or a plate.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (the longer the better, preferably overnight).
When ready to serve, uncover the pudding and place your serving plate upside down on top of the pudding. Carefully turn both over so that the pudding sits on the plate and remove the clingfilm. Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream or pouring cream. Enjoy.”