Thursday, 31 July 2008

Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding is a classic English dessert. The method is extremely simple, and like all extremely simple recipes it requires the best quality ingredients possible, as there is nothing to distract from the mediocre.

In particular, you need to be careful about the bread. I used a lovely brioche from Golden Hearth Bakery, which was perfect for this. A good challah (egg bread) would be a fine choice. A firm sandwich bread, white or lightly whole wheat is the classic choice. It can't be too dense and heavy, but anything overly soft and processed will be a disaster, and turn to goo. Stale bread will work, but firmness through staleness is not enough - the bread must have character to start with, or it will not hold up, stale or not.

8 servings
20 minutes prep time; 6 to 8 hours to set

Summer Pudding
I made mine in a 9" springform pan, but you can use a shallow bowl or other baking pan as seems appropriate.

Summer Pudding
1 loaf brioche (about 8 slices)
OR other egg bread or sandwich bread

3 cups blueberries
3 cups raspberries
OR 6 cups other mixed berries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cranberry juice

Line the mold you have chosen as neatly as you can with plastic film. Cut slices of bread to fit the mold, and line the bottom of it with the bread in a single layer. It is your choice whether to include the crusts or not.

Rinse and pick over the berries. Put the blueberries or other sturdy-skinned berries, if using, in a pot with the sugar and cranberry juice and cook over medium heat until the berries burst. Add the remaining softer berries (of the raspberry type) and continue cooking until just soft and juicy - don't overcook. If you are not using blueberries, all the fruit can go in at the beginning. Again, it should not so much be cooked as heated until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is beginning to fall apart.

Ladle the fruit evenly over the prepared bread, reserving most of the juice for the next layer of bread. Top the existing layer of bread and fruit with another layer of bread cut to fit, and press down gently. Drizzle the remaining juice evenly over the top bread layer, making sure there are no bits left unsoaked.

Cover the pudding with another layer of plastic film, and put a weight on it. Chill it for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.

To serve, unwrap and unmold the pudding. Serve it in slices with yogurt or whipped cream.

Last year at this time, I made Lentil, Roasted Onion & Spinach Salad, and Potato & Pepper Hash with Corn & Cheese.


aura hertzog said...

That looks to die for

Now i have something to make with leftover brioche.

golden hearth

Ferdzy said...

Leftover brioche? What a shocking thought. ;)

I should also have mentioned that frozen fruit works very well for this, so it could be made all year. I do think it is so very summery though, since it is served chilled and needs so little cooking.