On leaving home as a callow youth of a mere nineteen summers, my dear old mum loaded me up with a bunch of recipes that would allow me to ‘make a contribution’ to any household that would innocently offer me shelter.

    There’s a risotto there, a couple of nifty salads, something called a ‘salmon pie’, comprehensive instructions on how to roast some discarded lamb’s leg, and this: the summer pud.

    I first shared it with a couch of hippies in a London squat whose recreational proclivities excited the sweeter end of the palate. They regarded me thereafter as some kind of magician. This is that dish.


    • 300g strawberries

    • 250g blackberries

    • 100g redcurrants

    • 500g raspberries

    • 175g golden caster sugar

    • 6 or 7 slices day-old white bread


    Wash fruit and dry on kitchen paper. Separate strawberries.

    Put sugar and three tablespoons of water into a large pan. Gently heat, dissolve sugar. Boil for one minute, then tip in all fruit bar the strawberries.

    Cook for three minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

    Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the warm fruit and juice. Still no strawbs!

    Line a 1.25-litre bowl with cling film.

    Let the edges overhang by about 15cm.

    Cut the crusts off the bread.

    Dip a piece of bread into the juice to coat, then push into the bottom of
    the bowl.

    You can trim the rest of the bread on a angle to allow a better bowl fit.

    Dip each in juice and try not to make too big a mess of slotting them in around the bowl’s sides. You will fail.

    Spoon in the softened fruit, adding the strawberries as you go.

    Place the remaining bread on top and trim any overhang with scissors.

    Bring cling film up and loosely seal.

    Put a plate on top and weigh it down.

    Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

    To serve, open out cling film then put a serving plate upside-down on top and flip over. Pour over leftover juice, any extra berries and cream. Magic!

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