Last updated on December 9th, 2011
TWO THINGS INSPIRED ME TO MAKE SUMMER PUDDING. First, I’d harvested my white currants recently, and wanted to use them in some fascinating way (although you can certainly make the pudding without any currants at all). Next, we’re in the midst of a hellish heatwave here, and this pudding — a cool concoction of fresh fresh fruit and bread — seemed like the most refreshing thing in the world to eat.
I’m pretty sure that Cook’s Illustrated (the source of this recipe) intended Summer Pudding as an elegant evening dessert. But if you want to enjoy it for breakfast, and also as a mid-morning snack, and maybe, just maybe, as a 3:00PM pick-me-up, well…I won’t tell on you if you don’t tell on me.
If your loaf doesn’t unmold properly — mine didn’t — don’t worry. It will still be delicious. Besides, you can always cover any imperfections with whipped cream.
2 pints fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh blackberries (I substituted white currants here)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
8 slices potato bread (stale), challah, or other good-quality white bread (see note)
Note: To stale your bread, just leave it out overnight. Or, lay out slices on a baking sheet, and heat, in a 200 degree oven, for 20 minutes on each side.
1. Heat strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and sugar in large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to release their juice and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice; let cool to room temperature.
2. While berries are cooling, spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray. Remove crusts from bread slices and trim them to fit in a single layer in the loaf pan (it will take approximately 2 1/2 slices to form one layer). Line the loaf pan with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap lies flat against the surface of the loaf pan, leaving no air space.
3. Place the loaf pan on a rimmed cookie sheet and use a slotted spoon to place about 2 cups of fruit into the bottom. Lightly soak enough bread slices for one layer in juice and place on top of fruit. Repeat with two more layers of fruit and bread. Top with remaining juices, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and weight with a second cookie sheet and several heavy cans. Refrigerate pudding for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.
4. Remove weights, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. To unmold, invert onto serving platter. Lift off loaf pan; remove plastic wrap lining and serve.
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