“I grew up making and loving summer pudding, and I still adore it now.
If I had a tiny criticism, it would be that blackberries, blackcurrants and raspberries can feel a bit seedy, so I love this recipe, which is dedicated to the wonderful combo of strawberries and cream, and nods to the delightful summer drink of Pimm’s. The use of cucumber is a game changer – please embrace it, you won’t regret it. ”
This works great as a stand-alone recipe, but also as a component in Jamie’s Sunny Gathering from Together – see the full collection of menus here.
GET AHEAD Put 200g of the sugar into a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. As soon as it’s melted into a chestnut brown caramel, carefully pour in the Pimm’s and ginger beer – the mixture may seize up but don’t worry, simmer and stir gently until it comes together. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds, adding both to the pan, let the mixture bubble away for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off. Use a speed-peeler to peel the cucumber, halve it lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon, then slice it ½cm thick and, in a bowl, toss with 100g of sugar. Hull, halve and add the strawberries, tossing again. Pick and finely chop half the mint leaves, then gently stir into the caramel with the cucumber and strawberries.
Double line a 2-litre pudding bowl with clingfilm, leaving a generous overhang. Cut the crusts off the bread and cut the pieces in half. Gently dip one side of each piece into the pan of fruit so it sucks up some jammy juice, then place enough slices, jam against clingfilm, to line the sides, then the bottom of the bowl, slightly overlapping them as you go. Use a slotted spoon to pile in the cucumber and strawberries, leaving the juices behind, then double dip the remaining pieces of bread and use them to cover the filling. Fold in the overhanging clingfilm, creating a bit of tension to wrap it tight. Pop a plate on top, as well as something heavy to weigh it down, and refrigerate on a tray for at least 8 hours, or up to 2 days. Cover and refrigerate any leftover juices.
Tear the remaining mint leaves into a pestle and mortar, pound into a paste, then muddle and pound in around 100g of sugar so you can sprinkle it. Leave to dry out on a tray – you’ll only need a pinch per person, so save the rest in an airtight jar for future meals, where it will keep happily for up to 1 month.
TO SERVE Warm through and reduce any reserved juices until jammy. Unwrap and turn out the summer pud, drizzle over the jammy syrup, then serve each lovely portion with clotted cream and a sprinkling of mint sugar.