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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summer Berry Pudding

The Altitude Adjustment Section
The English have a very interesting repertoire of deserts. Many are made with leftovers, which often include old bread. Hey, you use what you have. This is a recipe for summer berry pudding, which requires no baking so you don’t need to heat up your kitchen, and it's yummy. This recipe is slightly fancier and suggests using Brioche bread, but you could go traditional and use plain old white bread or even Challah if you are so inclined. It does need to sit overnight, so plan ahead!

1 loaf Brioche bread
8 cups assorted ripe berries
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sweetened whipped cream of cream fraiche

Line a 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish with plastic wrap, making sure to leave excess wrap hanging over the edges. Trim the crust off the bread and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Combine the berries sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan and cook just 5 minutes until the berries exude their juices. Reserve 1 cup of berries and 1/2-cup juice for sauce at the end. Line the bottom of your soufflé dish with sliced bread, cutting and fitting so you have a tight fit. Using a ladle, spoon about half the berry mixture into the pan. Now make another tight layer of bread. Ladle the remaining berry mixture into the pan and top with another layer of brioche. Cover the pudding with excess plastic wrap. Now put a plate large enough just to cover the surface of the pudding on top and then set a 1-2 pound weight on top of that (2 pounds of butter or a large can of tomato product would work) to compress the whole thing. Set this inside a sheet pan or roasting pan to catch the potential drippage that might occur during compression and place in the refrigerator overnight.

To make the sauce, puree the reserved berries and juice in a blender and then strain out seeds though a fine sieve. You can cook and thicken it with a little cornstarch if you desire. To serve pudding, remove the weight from the pan, peel back the plastic wrap, and invert mold onto a serving plate with sides to catch the juices. Let the pudding stand for about 1 hour before slicing. Cut with a serrated knife and serve with sauce, whipped cream or crème fraiche.