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Berry nice

An American take on English Summer Pudding

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Berry nice
(Photo: Relish Magazine)

Berries combined with sugar and bread may seem peculiar to Americans. But English Summer Pudding is nothing short of brilliant. Fresh summer berries are warmed with sugar and water until they give up their glorious juice, then placed into a bread-lined bowl. When left to chill in the fridge overnight, the bread transforms into a crimson-stained “cake” that oozes a cornucopia of juicy goodness when sliced open.

While the pudding is traditionally made with stale white bread, raspberries and red currants, we’ve jazzed up the recipe by using brioche, a rich yeast bread made with eggs, butter and sugar available in most supermarket bakeries. And instead of red currants, we used blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.

Really, any combination of berries will work. We don’t fuss too much. We even decided not to worry over the bread crusts and left them on. American ingenuity.

English Summer Pudding

  • 8 cups assorted fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries), divided
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 (18-ounce) brioche loaf
  • Whipped cream

Mix 6 cups of berries with the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently, until berries start to soften and sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in remaining berries. Strain berry mixture, reserving all the juice and berries. Stir vanilla into juice. Line a 2-quart serving bowl with plastic wrap.

Cut a slice of brioche to fit the bottom of the bowl. Dip into juice and place in bottom of bowl. Cut the remaining brioche into wedges and dip each piece, one at a time, into juice. Place three-fourths of the juice-soaked brioche wedges against the sides of bowl pressing to remove any gaps. Spoon berries into center. Top with remaining brioche wedges.

Cover with plastic wrap. Press down with your hands until juices rise to the top. Place a plate on top, and set weights on the plate (2 or 3 cans of soup work well). Refrigerate at least 8 hours.

To serve, remove weights, plate and top plastic wrap. Place a serving plate on top of bowl and quickly turn both over together, shaking gently, so that the pudding releases from the bowl. Remove plastic wrap. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream. Serves 8.

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