Summer Berry Pudding

6 Aug

Berry pudding

With summer berries so plentiful and relatively inexpensive right now, here is a great recipe for a summer dessert.

Two things surprised me when I made this recipe. The first was that it was from the New York Times, where recipes tend to be complex or made with hard-to-find ingredients, and this one was very simple. Then I realized, as I purchased the loaf of super-puffy supermarket white bread that it calls for, that I hadn’t made such a purchase in many, many years. Even before we (meaning my husband, Joe) started baking almost all our bread, we would buy bread from local bakeries, not from the supermarket. On the rare occasions that we bought packaged bread from the grocery store, it would be something with lots of whole grains and seeds in it. So I was surprised at just how soft and spongy supermarket white bread is.

Like me, you may be tempted to sneer at this kind of bread, but it’s what you need for this recipe. You can use up any leftovers in French toast or cinnamon toast.

Ingredients:

1¾ lb. mixed berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) – about 6 cups
½ cup sugar, or a little more to taste
1 Tbs. lemon juice, or a little more to taste
A few drops of rosewater (optional)
10 to 12 slices soft white bread, crusts removed

Directions:

Combine the berries, sugar and ⅓ cup water in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved and the berries release their juices, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. The sauce should be sweet with a hint of tartness. Add more sugar or lemon to your taste. Stir in the rosewater if you use it.

Spoon an even layer of berry syrup (not the berries themselves) over the bottom of an 8-inch loaf pan or a medium-sized bowl. Line the bottom of the pan or bowl with a single layer of bread; cut the slices into smaller pieces as necessary to make them fit.

Berry pudding with ice creamSpoon a third of the fruit on top of the bread, making sure the bread is completely covered; top with another layer of bread. Repeat twice, alternating layers of fruit and bread and ending with bread on the top (so you’ll have four layers of bread and three layers of fruit).

Let the mixture cool completely, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap; the wrap should rest on the top of the pudding. Place a light weight on top of the pudding (e.g. a couple of ceramic mugs or small cans if you’re using a loaf pan, or a small plate if you’re using a bowl). Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the sides of the pudding, cover it with the serving plate and then turn it over to unmold. It should slip right out of the pan or bowl. Serve in slices with cream, whipped cream or ice cream on top.

Serves 8

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