England’s Famous Summer Cake

Dessert, In Season, Recipes, Summer
on December 1, 2009
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

As a child, there really wasn’t anything more thrilling than a summer picnic with Granny’s Summer Pudding. The neighbors would show up one by one, carrying English delicacies that were never quite up to Granny’s standards. Mrs. Smith brought egg sandwiches, but she neglected to remove the crusts. Aunt Betty brought her homemade scones, but Granny never approved of them either. She was a tad more accepting of Mrs. Rawlinson’s dishes, as she was more distracted by her bad attire. As the guests filed in, and the women set to gossiping, I would slip into the kitchen and have a peek at Granny’s Summer Pudding. For me, this pudding is the smell and taste of the English summer.

And the fact that it is so simple makes it even more brilliant. Fresh summer berries are warmed with sugar, their juices suffusing rich brioche bread that’s pressed into a bowl and filled with fruit. When left alone to chill in the fridge overnight, the pudding is transformed into a crimson-stained mound that oozes a cornucopia of juicy goodness when sliced open. Each summer, I salute Granny Ashton with a Summer Pudding that would make her proud.

By Chef Jon Ashton