Summer has almost gone (thankfully) and along with it so are some of the most delicious fruits from the market. One such tropical fruit is Lychee (a.k.a. Lichi), only found in the South East Asian countries. In India we get this little red berry which when removed from its peal has this deliciously juicy flesh which leaves you craving for more. Thailand also has a cousin of the same fruit but there it looks like a miniature porcupine but the delicious flesh is still the same.
Next tropical fruit I use in this recipe is the Jamun (a.k.a. Java Plum among other things), this is a violet fruit with a grey flesh, a native of the Indian Subcontinent and Indonesia. The peel turns your tongue purple, so it was quite fun as children to compete who could transform into the purple tongued monster quicker, it freaked my sister out… Sigh! Good ol days.
Anyhoo, the recipe is quite simple. We take the fruits and cook them in their own juices with a little sugar. Now, the thing to note here is that when the fruit is cooked the flavor only becomes stronger. For a fruit like lichi, which has a slightly strong flavor as it is, the cooking made a full on kick for the taste buds. The taste of the jamun though strong does get sidelined by the much concentrated lichi, the only hint of the presence of jamun remains in the light purple hue to the filling.
Actually, this is a British recipe for a berry pudding which uses blackberry, strawberry, raspberry and every fruit which ends with the suffix “berry”. I honestly would want to meet and hug the person who came up with these classic brit recipes- banoffee pie, eggs Benedict and now this berry pudding. If you find the said person just pass on a bear hug from my side will ya?
The recipe is pretty simple so go ahead and try it. Again this time also I have refrained from mentioning the quantity since it is completely upto you. Depends on your taste and the size of your bowl.
So have a go.
- Lichi (Lychee)
- Jamun (Java Plum)
- ½ cup water (if needed)
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
- Bread slices with the crusts cut off
- Strawberry syrup/whipped cream/ice cream for garnish
Peel the lychee, and separate the flesh from the seed. Just break the fruit gently with your hands, chopping them is an option but that way you lose the precious juice which we need for cooking.
For the jamun we can leave the skin on, because that is what will give the purple color to our filling.
Now in a flat pan, cook the fruits together. Add some sugar if the fruits are not sweet enough, and some water to dilute the concentrated solution.
While the filling is prepping, take the bread slices and remove the crusts.
Line a bowl with cling-film, place the bread slices along the sides. Press if required to give the bread the shape of the bowl, as much as possible.
The fruit doesn’t require cooking for more than 15 minutes, maximum 20. Remove them from flame.
Gently spoon the berry sauce into the bread bowl.
Once filled, cover with another slice of bread and thoroughly wrap in cling-film.
Place a plate on top of the bowl and a heavy weight (like a jar of olives) on the plate. And leave it in the fridge to set.
I set it over night, but sometimes it sets in 3-4 hours as well.
Remove from the fridge after the said time. Free the bread pudding from its plastic binds.
Pour some strawberry syrup or whipped cream or whatever you can find, and just dig in.
Note: I have used brown bread so it didn’t get as much color as it should have. If you go for white bread perhaps the color of the filling would come through to the top.
Let me know how this turns out.