Treat Time with this Delicious Dessert for Christmas

Christmas has arrived in my household. It was a little slow in appearing this year but the tree went up three days ago and now it feels more like Christmas time.

The Christmas Tree in the corner of my living room
The Christmas Tree in the corner of my living room

We always celebrate on the night before Christmas when we meet for the family dinner, and like most families there are long-held food traditions. One which my boys hold on to most vehemently is the inclusion of Summer Pudding in the menu. To them, Summer Pudding, a delicious, light, berry-bright dessert that celebrates the height of summer is synonymous with Christmas. This suits me fine as it is a breeze to make.

Christmas and New Year is a time when it is all too easy to overeat, or to eat poorly, when eating out more often means that keeping up your normal healthy food choices becomes very difficult, so it is great to find a festive dessert that is delicious as well as being reasonably healthy, as desserts go.

The other benefit for me, and no doubt many of you, in these times when so many people are on restricted diets is that it fits the bill for many of them. In our family, we have to cater to a wide range of diets from the ‘meat and potato’ eaters to Vegan, and include gluten-free and dairy-free along the way, which is quite a tall order. Summer Pudding can be very easily adapted to fit these as well as being suitable for nut-free and egg-free diets also. The only negatives are that it really does need refined white bread and some sweetening.

The recipe normally calls for fine wheat bread but I replace this with  gluten-free bread. Some gluten-free breads are still as heavy as rocks but increased public demand has forced manufacturers to improve their product and there are some around now that taste just fine.

I replace the white castor sugar normally used in the recipe with coconut palm sugar, although as I was out of it today I had to use Panela which is unrefined cane sugar. In addition I cut the sugar content dramatically, as too much makes the dessert taste sickly and overwhelms the slight tartness that sings fresh berries. Do not leave all the sugar out though as it needs a little.

So here is my Super- Easy Antioxidant Rich Delicious Summer Pudding recipe adapted to suit restricted diets.

Serves 6 – But you can increase the quantities as needed and use a cake tin instead of the bowl for larger quantities.

Don’t stress too much about the berries – sometimes I use more or less of one or another. But, strawberries and blueberries don’t work well so leave them out. Normally I go out to the hills a few days before Christmas to pick my berries but this year didn’t have time and used mostly frozen berries from my last ‘picking’ with a few fresh ones thrown in. As long as you don’t over heat them they are fine.

1 Loaf of stale white gluten-free bread (GF bread stales quite quickly and will do so if left out on the bench for an or so)

300g raspberries

125g redcurrants

100g blackberries

100g boysenberries

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

Line a bowl with plastic wrap, letting it hang over the sides.

Let the edges of the plastic wrap hang generously over the edge
Let the edges of the plastic wrap hang generously over the edge

Place the fruit in a saucepan with the sugar, and gently heat until it just starts to boil. Remove from the heat. Put the raspberries on the top as they are softest and will break up the easiest.

The berries release lots of juice as soon as they are heated.
The berries release lots of juice as soon as they are heated.

While the fruit is heating, cut the crusts from the bread and  line the bottom and sides with it. I use triangles on the bottom (as this will become the top) and tightly fitting rectangles for the sides. Take some care to make sure it fits snugly.

Cut the bread pieces so they fit snugly together
Cut the bread pieces so they fit snugly together

When the fruit has heated fill the lined bowl with the fruit, and cover the fruit with a lid of bread. I usually pour some of

Cover the berries with a lid of bread pieces
Cover the berries with a lid of bread pieces

the remaining juice over the bread lid and trickle some down the edges between the bread and plastic. Save any left over juice.

Fold the overhanging plastic over the bread lid and place a plate on top and weigh it down. You can use a can to do this.

I use these gorgeous antique weights but a can of food will do the job perfectly
I use these gorgeous antique weights but a can of food will do the job perfectly

Place in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, turn the pudding out on a plate. If there are patches that have not absorbed the juices and are not ‘berry-juice red’ pour the reserved juices over them to patch them. Slice the pudding just as you would a cake.

The finished Summer Pudding
The finished Summer Pudding

Even if you are not celebrating Christmas, or your menu is already planned, try out this yummy treat, I am sure you will love it as much as we do.

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