This healthy summer pudding recipe is a low sugar version of a classic English summer pudding which makes the most of luscious summer fruits. This dessert is served chilled, and consists of lightly poached summer berries and a layer of berry juice soaked bread. The end result is much more delicious than it sounds!
In this recipe, I've made individual summer puddings, as they are easy to serve, and look very pretty in little jars. I've used bread only on the top rather than on the sides, which balances well with the fruit. If you use jars with a lid, these little cheat's summer puddings are perfect to take on a picnic.
Why make this recipe?
Healthy summer pudding is packed with goodness. Berries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, as they are loaded with fibre and antioxidants, and low in natural sugars. They can help to reduce inflammation, and decrease your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. (Read more about the health benefits of berries here.)
This healthy version of summer pudding also has less added sugar. It's also virtually fat free, and low in calories. It's an easy dairy free and vegan summer dessert, and you can use the recipe to make a gluten free summer pudding too.
This really is one of the most stunning summer desserts. It looks and tastes beautiful. If you are lucky enough to have some soft fruit in the garden or a good market or pick your own farm, this recipe is an absolute must. For us, it simply isn't summer until we've had our first summer puddings!
Easy to make
Healthy summer puddings are a no bake dessert which makes them perfect for a hot summer's day!
Individual summer puddings are much easier to make than a large pudding. You don't have to line the bowls, or grapple with unmolding the pudding from the basin. Small summer puddings are also quicker to make as they need less chilling.
You can also make easy summer puddings with frozen fruit which cuts down on prep time and makes the recipe more budget friendly. And if you make frozen fruit summer pudding, you can enjoy this fruity dessert all year round:)
Seasonal summer fruits are the hero ingredient of the dessert.
If using fresh soft fruit, try to include a mix of roughly two-thirds sweeter fruits such as raspberries and/or strawberries, and one-third sharper fruits such as redcurrants, blackberries and blackcurrants. A good mix would be:
- 150 g each raspberries and strawberries
- 150 g blackberries or redcurrants
- 50 g blackcurrants
If you are using strawberries, hull them and chop into raspberry sized pieces.
If you don't have fresh berries, then you can make summer puddings with frozen fruit, which will cut down on preparation time. There's no need to defrost the fruit, but you might need to leave it in the pan for slightly longer before the juices start to run.
This healthy summer pudding recipe uses a small amount of sugar to sweeten the fruit and bring out the flavours. The sugar also helps to turn the juices into syrup. You can use white, brown, granulated or castor sugar. If you'd prefer to use an unrefined sweetener, then honey or maple syrup will work perfectly. I wouldn't replace the sugar with a sweetener however as the syrup is an important part of the dessert.
I've tried making these healthy summer puddings using both white and wholemeal bread, and it's very hard to tell the difference, so use whichever you prefer. Wholemeal bread is higher in fibre and B vitamins. In my experience, it's best to use a proper bakery loaf which you slice yourself. If you are just making a couple of individual puddings, then you could also cut two slices from the centre of a bread roll. Freeze the trimmings for use as breadcrumbs.
Some summer pudding recipes specify using stale bread, but in my experience, the recipe works perfectly well with fresh bread if that's what you have available!
How to make healthy summer puddings
These individual summer puddings are incredibly easy to make.
Gently poach the soft fruit and sugar over a low heat for 4-5 minutes. The juice will start to run, and the sugar will dissolve into a syrup. Put aside to cool slightly.
Cut 4 slices of bread about 1cm thick. Use to make 4 circles which fit the top of your serving dishes. If you are using jars, you can use the top of the jar as a cutter.
Divide the poached fruit between your serving dishes, reserving a little of the syrup. Add the circle of bread, and push down onto the fruit. Spoon the remaining syrup onto the top of the bread.
Ideally, chill the summer puddings before eating. The juice will soak into the bread and meld into fruity luscious perfection.
- Make sure that your fruit is nice and ripe for this recipe. There'll be more natural sweetness, and the fruit will also be juicier.
- Try adding a splash of liqueur to the poached fruits for a grown-up version of this healthy summer pudding. Use a complementary flavoured liqueur such as creme de cassis.
This healthy summer pudding really does taste of the summer. Serve in the jars or glasses. Top with a little cream or thick yogurt if liked.
You can make healthy summer puddings ahead of time if needed. This make ahead dessert will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you enjoy summer pudding, you might also want to try this healthy trifle recipe which has a layer of berries and juice-soaked bread beneath creamy custard.
Yes, if you prefer, you can use brioche instead of bread in this recipe. It'll add slightly more sugar to the recipe.
Yes. Simply replace the bread in the recipe with a gluten free loaf.
Yes, these summer desserts freeze well. Make sure that you use freezer-proof dishes, and wrap each pudding well. However, if you've made summer puddings with frozen fruit, it's best not to freeze them as you shouldn't refreeze the fruit.
Other summer desserts you might like
- Summer berry crumble: A mix of summer fruits, topped with a crunchy oat topping
- Healthy berry nice cream: Instant ice cream, naturally sweetened
- Summer fruit jelly: A beautiful summer dessert
- Low fat lemon cheesecake: Very low in fat, but totally delicious
- Peach and raspberry crumble: a healthy peach crumble with oats
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Healthy Summer Pudding
- 4 jars or glasses to serve
- 500 g mixed summer fruits, fresh or frozen see notes above
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 4 thick slices bread see note above
- If using fresh fruit, hull the strawberries and cut into pieces about the size of a raspberry.
- Place the prepared fruit and sugar in a pan, and place on a low heat. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the juices are running and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool slightly.
- Remove the crusts and cut 4 circles of bread to fit the top circumference of your jars.
- Divide the fruit into 4 jars or glasses, reserving a little of the syrup. Top the fruit with a circle of bread. Gently press the bread into the top of each filled jar, allowing the juice to ooze up. Spoon over the remaining syrup to soak into the bread.
- Chill. Serve in the jars or glasses.
- Fresh or frozen fruit will work well in the recipe.
- You can use either white or brown bread. You can also use bread rolls - you should be able to get a couple of circles from each roll.
- Gluten free bread can be used if needed.
- These English summer puds can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.