(English berry and bread dessert)
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What a perfectly smashing summer sweet! With summer pudding, juicy berries are encased in slices of white bread that soak up the juice and turn a brilliant reddish purple. Fresh, seasonal berries are key for this elegant dessert to work properly, so reserve summer pudding for its namesake season.
6 to 8 servings
- Mixed berries (see notes -- 2 pounds
- Sugar -- 2/3 cup
- Water -- 1/4 cup
- Stale white bread, crusts removed -- 6 to 8 slices
- Clean the berries with a rinse of fresh water and drain thoroughly. If using strawberries, trim and slice into quarters.
- Add the berries, sugar and water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low flame. Cook just enough to soften the berries, but not so much they lose their shape and turn mushy. Remove from heat and set aside. Adjust sugar to your taste.
- Line the bottom of a deep bowl or mold large enough to hold all the berries with a slice or two of bread to cover. Line the sides of the bowl neatly with the remaining slices of bread, trimming them to fit. Make sure there are no gaps between the slices.
- Pour the berries into the bread-lined bowl, reserving some of the juice. Fold any bread slices that stick up over the berries and top with some more bread slices to cover. Pour the remaining juice over the top bread slices to moisten them.
- Place a small plate on top of the pudding and put a soup can on top of the plate to weigh it down. Place in the refrigerator and chill overnight.
- Place a serving platter upside-down on the bowl and quickly flip them over. Remove the bowl, leaving the pretty pudding on the plate. Drizzle the reserved juice around the pudding. Garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs. Serve with cream, whipped cream or clotted cream.
Summer Pudding Variations
- Berries: Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and currants are the most common berries used in summer pudding. But try blueberries, loganberries or any other seasonal or local berries. You can even use plums and cherries.
- Bread: Try to use a good quality, firm white bread, not a mass-produced, mushy loaf. For an even more luxurious experience, use slices of rich brioche.
- For a grown-up touch, add a splash of crème de cassis or Cointreau to the berries.
- Individual Puddings: Line the bottom of single portion-sized ramekins or large muffin tins with a slice of bread cut to fit. Add a big spoonful of berries. Then top with another slice of bread. Weight down and chill.
- To more easily unmold the pudding, line it first with plastic wrap.