A Very English Pudding

bb1Summer pudding or summer fruit pudding is an English dessert made of sliced white bread, layered in a deep bowl with fruit and fruit juice. It is left to soak overnight and turned out onto a plate.

The dessert was most popular from the late 19th to the early 20th century.  It first appears in print with its current name in 1904, but identical recipes for ‘hydropathic pudding’ and ‘Malvern pudding’ from as far back as 1868 have been found.

summer-pudding-14Making summer pudding is much easier if the bread is somewhat stale. This helps the fruit juices soak through the bread, which makes the pudding more pleasant. Summer pudding can be served with cream.

summer-pudding-1The fruits typically used in summer pudding are raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants, and blackberries. Less commonly used are tayberries, loganberries, cherries and blueberries.

Today, 29th September is Michaelmas Day, traditionally the last day of the harvest season is the feast day of Saint Michael the summer-pudding-2Archangel, the patron saint of the sea, of boats and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. He was also the Angel who hurled Lucifer from heaven for his treachery.

Originally the harvest began on 1st August and was called Lammas, or ‘loaf Mass’ where farmers made bread summer-pudding-4from the new wheat crop and gave them to their own church.

This custom ended when Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and currently the festival is at the end of the season, near Michaelmas Day.

summer-pudding-7Folklore in England holds that the devil stamps on bramble bushes or as they say in some areas, spits on them. Therefore one must not pick blackberries after Michaelmas.

The reason for this belief has ancient origins. It was said that the devil was kicked out of heaven on St Michael’s Feast Day, but as summer-pudding-8he fell from the skies, he landed in a bramble bush! He cursed the fruit of that prickly plant, scorching them with his fiery breath, stamping on them, spitting on them and generally making them unsuitable for human consumption.

hampshire-summer-puddingLegend suggests he renews his curse every Michaelmas day and so no more blackberries can be gathered beyond today!

See here for further details!


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