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Vegan Recipes from Australia & New Zealand
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Traditional Australian Summer Pudding
From: bluemoon downunder

A visually stunning and totally scrumptious pudding, this traditional Australian summer pudding is made when berries are at their peak; and it is served cold with Cardamom Cream. Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants: the ratios are unimportant. What I've indicated below in the ingredients is but one possible berry combination.

Vary the ratios to suit your taste preferences and, of course, depending on what is available. What is important is that overall you have 1 kilo of berries (Australian): 2 pounds of berries (American) or 910g of berries (Canadian). A variety of berries will naturally make for a more interesting flavour combination. The preparation and cooking time does not include the overnight chilling time. Because it is a dessert that needs that overnight chilling, it can of course be made totally ahead of time! I have adapted this recipe from the Australian publication by Reader's Digest of a book jam-packed with traditional Australian recipes: 'Family Recipe Scrapbook: tried and trusted recipes for today's cooks'.

SERVES 6

  • 10 slices white bread, thick slices, preferably 2- or 10 day old bread, crusts removed
  • 100 g black currants
  • 100 g red currants
  • 100 g blueberries
  • 150 g blackberries
  • 200 g raspberries
  • 350 g strawberries
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • extra fruit, and leaves to place around the base of the pudding, to decorate

Cardamom Cream

  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds from, very finely crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy soy cream

Cut a large round from one of the slices of bread to fit in the bottom of a six-cup pudding bowl or basin. Cut the remaining slices in half and use to line the sides of the bowl, overlapping the slices slightly and trimming where necessary. Once you have finished lining the bowl, you should have enough bread left over for the top.

Put the redcurrants, blackcurrants and blueberries in a saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice, water and kirsch (if using) and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the juices start to flow from the berries. Add the remaining fruits - the blackberries, raspberries and strawberries - and heat gently for 5 minutes or until the berries have just softened. Remove from the heat.

Spoon the fruit and juice into the lined pudding bowl and cover with the reserved bread, then cover with plastic wrap. Stand the bowl on a plate or small plastic tray to catch any juices. Place a small, flat plate on top of the pudding and add some extra weight, ideally about 1 kilo. Two tubs of margarine would do the job! Chill the pudding overnight.

When you are ready to serve the pudding, remove the weights and the plate and plastic wrap, and using a palette knife, gently loosen it from the sides of the bowl. Invert the pudding onto a plate, preferably one with a small lip, to retain the juices and keep them on the plate. Shake gently to release the pudding, decorate with extra fruit around the base of the pudding and serve the pudding with cardamom cream.

Cardamom Cream: Mix together the cardamom seeds and the soy cream and chill for two hours.

Chef's Tip: To prevent gaps appearing in the bread as you line the bowl, trim the sides of each slice at an angle so that the slices fit more easily around the bowl.