Seasonal Eating in June

British tomato season is upon us! They’ve come a long way since first being cultivated in South America in around 700AD – literally, as tomato seeds spent six years in a satellite orbiting Earth. In addition to being the base of loads of sauces, they’re full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, which almost certainly means pizza is a health food. At the very least, we can feel virtuous with dishes like basil tagliatelle with fiery cherry tomatoes or avocado, tomato, and goat’s cheese toast. For a more robust meal, look towards baked cod bruschetta with hot tomato & aubergine salsa, or if breakfast’s your thing, a Mexican hash brown stack.

June is really when summer’s treasures start showing their faces – this month, we can expect: asparagus; broad beans; carrot; courgette; cucumber; lettuce (curly); spinach; peas; apples (bramley); field-grown rhubarb and strawberry.

Summer fruit pudding with lime, and vanilla mascarpone

Summer fruit pudding with lime, and vanilla mascarpone // The Dinner BellIt’s all the ease you want from a dessert when the weather’s nice, really. A summer fruit pudding is just a bit of slicing and arranging, a quick blast of the fruit on the hob, and five minutes later it’s ready to pop it into the fridge to do its thing while you relax. Leave it overnight and you’ve got a refreshing pudding with minimal fuss.

Makes five sizeable puddings (in large ramekins)

Ingredients

550g, ish, sliced bread
700g assorted summer fruit
1 lime
1.5 tbsp sugar (of your choice!)
250g mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp icing sugar (optional)

Method

    1. First up, cut the crusts off the bread and set aside (see note!). Cut the bread in half, slightly diagonally, apart from five pieces, which will be the base of each pudding. For these, turn your ramekin upside down on the bread and roughly cut around it.
    2. Line each ramekin with cling film, leaving enough over the side to close over the pudding later, then line with the half-slices of bread, thinner end down and overlapping slightly so that the pieces fan up and around the side of the ramekin.
    3. Zest half the lime and rub the zest into the sugar – rubbing it will release the oils best.
    4. Heat the fruit, sugar/zest and a few squeezes of lime juice in a pan over a medium heat, until just squishy and juicy. While this heats up, combine the mascarpone and vanilla paste. Add some icing sugar if you fancy it.
    5. Half fill each ramekin with fruit, dollop a generous teaspoon of vanilla mascarpone into the centre and top with more fruit.
    6. Tuck the bread circles you cut out earlier into the top of the ramekins, press to seal, and bring the cling film over to cover the top.
    7. Weight the puddings – with the type of weights you’d use on old fashioned scales, or by stacking the puddings and occasionally switching the stack up so that each one has a turn at being at the bottom. Refrigerate overnight.
    8. Serve (see notes for the easy way to transfer to a plate or bowl) with the leftover vanilla mascarpone and a little more zest if you’re feeling fancy.

Notes: Save those crusts! They can be blitzed up into breadcrumbs and used in the future.

The clingfilm means you can easily lift the puddings out rather than scraping around with a palate knife. To serve, unfold the top of the cling film and lift the puddings out of the ramekins. Undercover the top (soon to be bottom!), hold the pudding in your hand and place a plate on top, flip, and peel off the remaining cling film.