“A Summer Fruit Pudding”
This classic British dessert is just the thing to make for the upcoming 4th of July holiday weekend. I do hope the irony of this is not lost on you.
All you need is some fresh berries….blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries…any combination of these summer berries and a loaf of day old bread. There is no baking so no heating up the kitchen. It is easy to make, a beauty when finished and the taste is like biting into “summer”…very refreshing, not overly sweet and served with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream or whipped mascarpone cheese.
The most important part is allowing the fresh berries to macerate with sugar for about 30 minutes ahead of time.
Choose a bread with some body that is a day or two old and just a bit dried out. I used a Brioche but a loaf of plain old white bread works just as well, as does Angel Food Cake.
After the berries have macerated they are slowing boiled for a few minutes with some water until the berries release most of their juice and get a bit softened. This takes about 5-8 minutes on a low boil.
I used a glass mixing bowl lined with plastic wrap for the mold, but a metal bowl or plastic will be fine. Later when the pudding is chilled it will be easy to turn it upside down on a serving platter.
While I am slicing the bread (you can make with or without the crust), and lining the bowl I let the berries drain very well so there is about 3 cups of berry juice to about 4 to six cups of softened sugared fruit.
Dipping the slices of bread and lining the bowl comes next.
Don’t you just love that color? The berries are then scraped into the center of the bread, topped with a couple of more soaked bread slices and covered with a sheet of plastic.
The pudding needs to have pressure on it so that the bread and the berries become “one”. I do this first with my hands and then place a plate with a heavy can sitting on top while the pudding is chilling for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Here is the turned out, chilled, a firm “pudding” (what the British pretty call dessert for the most part….as in “What’s for pudding?”) topped with additional berries and superfine sugar (caster sugar). I served this with a dollop of whipped mascarpone.
For a dinner party I recently made this again but this time I used an Angel Food Cake instead of bread. As the cake was already sweet I used less sugar on the berries. This version may be my new favorite. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream. Another variation on the theme. Maybe next time I will try pound cake?
Traditionally this “pudding” was served as a healthy alternative to heavy sugary desserts at health spas in England. If you give this a try let me know how your version turns out.
Summer Berry Pudding
- 6 cups of mixed summer berries, rinsed & drained + 1/2 cup mixed for garnishing
- 1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar) + extra for garnishing
- 1 loaf of day old bread (White, Brioche or you can use an Angel Food Cake)
- 1/2 to 1 cup water
- Toss 6 cups of berries with 1/2 cup sugar. Leave to sit for about 30 minutes.
- Add berries & juice to a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Turn to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile cut bread into approximately 1″ slices. You can remove the crust or not.
- Line a glass, metal or plastic round mixing bowl (about a 2 qt bowl) with plastic wrap allowing it to hang over the edges of the bowl completely covering the inside.
- Pour berries & juice through a strainer sitting over a bowl. Let drain for 10 minutes.
- You will need about 3-4 cups of juice. Add more water if need be.
- Gently dip each slice of bread into the juice lining the bowl completely with the soaked bread. Place one piece of bread in the bottom of the bowl to cover the center.
- Dump the berries in the middle of the bowl & cover them with 2 more slices of juice soaked bread. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, pressing down with your hands to make sure all the bread is soaked.
- Place a saucer or small plate over the plastic wrap and top with a heavy can to press the mixture together over night in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, remove the top sheet of plastic wrap & turn the bowl upside down onto a serving plate. Remove the bowl & plastic wrap from the summer pudding.
- Garnish with additional fresh berries and a generous dusting of sugar.
- Use a spoon to scoop out servings and add a scoop of ice cream or whipped mascarpone if desired. Whipped cream would be good as well.
Notes: You can make this with sliced Angel Food Cake as well for an interesting twist. Try adding some peaches to the berries or plums. Tip: If you do not have caster sugar…which is just a finer granulated sugar..you can make quickly by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Very easy to do.
recipe and photos by Teresa Blackburn foodonfifth.com teresablackburnfoodstyling.com