Borrowed from the British “A Summer Fruit Pudding” for the Fourth of July

summer fruit pudding

“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.

summer berries with fruitsugared berries

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dipping the slices of bread and lining the bowl comes next.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

  • Servings: 8-10
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summer fruit pudding

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Toss 6 cups of berries  with 1/2 cup sugar. Leave to sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile cut bread into approximately 1″ slices. You can remove the crust or not.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour berries & juice through a strainer sitting over a bowl. Let drain for 10 minutes.
  6. You will need about 3-4 cups of juice. Add more water if need be.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh berries and a generous dusting of sugar.
  12. 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  

Ice Cream Dreams

Last Friday it was 98 degrees in the shade and the job was to shoot some real ice cream dessert shots.

My part of the shoot was to dream up some ideas as long as they were ice cream-like. I wanted the flavor profiles to be a little outside the box while using familiar ingredients with a bit of a twist. I wanted interesting textures and a refreshing look.

My Ice Cream Dream #1   “Peach & Raspberry Buttermilk Ice Cream served with Ines Rosales Crackers Drizzled with Chocolate Sauce”

 Ice Cream Ingredients:

3 cups good quality buttermilk

1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar

1 generous TBSP Balsamic Vinegar (I used a Mango flavored Balsamic Vinegar. But any of the fruit flavored ones on the market would be equally delicious or just plain Balsamic.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups fresh, ripe peaches, peeled  & cut into small chunks

1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

1. Prep ice cream freezer as per instructions for your particular freezer. I use a Cuisinart electric freezer that works so beautifully every time.

2. Pour cold buttermilk into a bowl & sprinkle sugar over the surface. Let it sit until sugar has melted about 5-7 minutes. Stir mixture together. Add balsamic vinegar & vanilla extract & blend well. Taste for sweetness. If desired you can add a bit more sugar to suit your taste.

3.  Pour chilled mixture into the freezer bowl and freeze mixture until it is soft-frozen according to freezer instructions. At this point add in the chopped peaches and whole raspberries.  When mixture is frozen, cover and place in refrigerator freezer until ready to serve.

Other ingredients to complete dessert:

A package of Ines Rosales crackers (Whole Foods). (If you cannot find these then use Matzoh crackers that you have brushed with honey & sprinkled with sugar.)

A good quality dark chocolate syrup

Additional raspberries for garnish

To Assemble Dessert:

Place one Ines Rosales on each serving plate. Top with a generous scoop of Peach & Raspberry Buttermilk Ice Cream. Top with another Ines Rosales. Drizzle chocolate syrup over top and garnish with a scatter of raspberries. The crispy, salty, sweetness of these crackers were perfect with the very slightly balsamic flavored Peach Ice Cream and the hint of dark chocolate.

My Ice Cream Dream #2   “Benton Bacon Sugar Cookie Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich”

I found the Benton Bacon Sugar Cookies last week at the wonderful little grocery in The Gulch “The Turnip Truck”. I was intrigued enough to bring a package home to couple with  dark chocolate ice cream to create an unusually fantastic ice cream sandwich.

Note: if you cannot find these same cookies you can easily make your own by adding some cooked, chopped Benton Bacon pieces to your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe.

Once again this coupling of salt, crunch and creamy cold was a very fine treat.

To Do: Sandwich a scoop of dark chocolate ice cream between two cookies. Place in freezer wrapped in waxed paper until ready to eat.

My Ice Cream Dream #3   “Frozen Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sundae”

I recently ran across this easy one ingredient ice cream idea so it is in no way my original idea. I found it at instructables.com. Of course I gilded the lily somewhat.

Ingredient list:

4-6 ripe, with lots of brown spots, bananas, peeled, cut into chunks and frozen

large bakery or homemade chocolate chip cookies

peanut butter

chocolate sprinkles

Sea Salt

Directions for ice cream:

1. Place frozen bananas into a food processor and process until bananas become the consistency of ice cream. You might have to scrape down sides of processor during this part. Mixture should be “scoop-able”. That’s it.

2. Melt peanut butter in microwave until it is can be poured.

To Serve:

Place a cookie on plate, top with a scoop of the banana ice cream, add a drizzle of the peanut butter, add chocolate sprinkles and sea salt flakes over the top and serve.

Be Sweet, Stay Cool.