SUPERMARKETS and grocers’ shops are packed full of beautiful summer berries at the moment, the jewels of the fruit stall that never fail to tempt me with their vibrant colour and sweet fragrance.

As you know, I’m a big advocate of using seasonal British produce so I absolutely adore this time of year. I always have a plentiful supply of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in stock both at home and in the restaurant and try to incorporate them into my menus and diet as much as possible.

Summer Pudding is a truly quintessential British recipe that makes the most of this abundance of berries and is a classic dessert for this time of year. Dating back to the 19th century, summer pudding has never really gone out of fashion and there has been very little variations to the recipe over the years.

Although summer pudding is often thought to be a complicated dessert to make, it’s actually very simple and uses few ingredients.

It does, however, take a bit of preparation and time so you’ll need to make it the night before or several hours in advance. But it’s well worth the wait and is perfect for a picnic, barbecue or dinner party.

Even though this is technically a bread pudding, it’s surprisingly light and relatively low in calories. However, I like to serve mine with a dollop of thick mascarpone or some luxury vanilla ice cream which obviously turns it into a more calorific pud! I also prefer to make this in individual portions using teacups or deep ramekin dishes as moulds.

Make sure you use a good quality loaf of bread; it really does make a difference.

Summer puddings

Ingredients (makes 4 individual puddings)

1 Danish loaf (or similar soft alternative)

200g of raspberries

400g of strawberries

100g of blackberries

50g blueberries

2 tbsp. caster sugar

Mascarpone or vanilla ice cream to serve

Place the washed fruit and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook gently for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has started to soften and release its natural juices. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Remove the crusts from the bread. Cut out four disc shaped pieces of bread using the rim of the cup or ramekin and set aside.

Line the sides and bottom of each cup with bread, overlapping if necessary, and firmly pressing the bread together to make sure there are no gaps that juice can escape from.

Generously spoon the berries and a little juice into each cup, pressing down with the back of a spoon so that it’s packed tightly. Leave some of the juice aside for serving.

Cover each fruit-filled cup with a bread disc and apply gentle pressure to close the gap. Cover with cling film and sit a weighted object on the top of each. Place in the fridge overnight to chill.

To serve, gently run a knife around the sides of each cup to release the edges and carefully turn out onto serving dishes.

Drizzle the leftover juice over each pudding and serve with a generous scoop of Mascarpone or good quality vanilla ice cream.