This is a variant on the traditional summer pudding, which I make with blackcurrants in season (see recipe here). By September the season for most of the summer berries is over. However, in most years there are blackberries in the hedgerows, and cooking apples start to ripen about now. Apple and blackberry is a traditional combination in hot puddings such as fruit pies and crumbles. So I decided to try it in a variation of summer pudding, before the temperatures drop and the nights draw in, and found that it worked very well. Here’s the recipe.
A good autumn (or summer) pudding needs decent white bread – I’m afraid blotting-paper sliced white just doesn’t cut it. I included a recipe for white bread in the summer pudding recipe here.
Like summer pudding, autumn pudding itself contains no fat if you use my bread recipe (apart from the very small amount in the flour), so you’re entitled to a free hand with the cream.
Autumn pudding (serves 6)
12 oz (approx. 350 g) blackberries
12 oz (approx. 350 g) cooking apples, after peeling and coring
6 oz (approx. 150 g) sugar
Approx. 4 fl. oz (approx 120 ml) apple juice
8 oz (approx 250 g) good-quality white bread, a day old
Pouring cream to serve
Wash the blackberries. If you picked them wild out of a hedge, evict the spiders, beetles and other startled wildlife.
Peel and core the cooking apples, and chop them roughly.
Put the chopped apple, apple juice and sugar in a saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the apples are soft. Add the blackberries and simmer another 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cut the bread into slices about 0.25-0.5 inch thick (about 0.5-1 cm thick).
Cut a piece from one slice to fit the bottom of a 2 pint (approx. 1 litre) pudding basin. Reserve enough bread slices to cover the top of the pudding basin, and put them to one side.
Cut the remaining slices into fingers and fit them around the sides of the basin. Cut off any bread that sticks out above the top of the basin. Fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread. Some people find it easier to dip the bread in the blackberry and apple mix first, as this helps it to adhere to the sides of the basin and gives it an even colour.
Pour in the fruit and sugar mixture. It doesn’t matter whether it’s still hot or has cooled down.
Cover the top of the fruit mixture with the reserved slices of bread.
Put a small saucer or plate on top, ideally one that is just a little smaller than the top of the pudding basin. Weight it down with something heavy. I use a plastic milk carton full of water, which weighs about 1.25 lb (approx 600 g), and this seems to work quite well.
Stand the weighted pudding overnight in the fridge, on a plate or tray just in case any juices spill out.
Next day, serve the pudding cut into wedges, with plenty of cream to pour over it. If you’re feeling really confident, you can turn the pudding out onto a plate before serving it. I generally just scoop the servings out of the pudding basin.
Any left over will keep in the fridge for several days, though once cut it will start to collapse (and it would therefore be a good idea to leave it in the basin, rather than turning it out, if you’re intending to eat it over several days).
It won’t freeze, though you can make it with frozen fruit.
I usually expect to get six to eight portions out of this quantity, but it depends how big a portion you like.