I have a particular English friend who loves summer pudding. Before seeing Ina Garten make a summer pudding on her cooking show Barefoot Contessa, I had only rarely seen it grace the tables of my many lifetime food encounters. Obviously wanting to make this pudding for my English friend in question (as I love to feed my friends and as of late have been referred to as "the feeder"), I thought I better brush up on its history, if only to avoid looks of utter disapproval and disgust at my ignorance for not being familiar with the Summer Pudding.
Unfortunately, I didn't find much information... Only that summer pudding is a quintessential English summer treat and that its origins can be traced back to Victorian England, late 19th century. However, according to greatbritishkitchen.co.uk, the earliest published summer pudding recipe was published in a book titled "Sweets No. 6" by S. Beaty-Pownall published in 1902. Old, English, and delicious.
Right - enough of the history, onto the food...
(Adapted from Ina Garten's Summer Pudding Recipe)
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 pint fresh raspberries, divided
- 1 pint fresh blueberries or blackberries
- 2 tablespoons Fragoli (strawberry liqueur)
- 1 loaf brioche, or Challah (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) - stale bread is ideal, as it helps absorb more of the fruit juices.
- whipped cream to serve
Combine the strawberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan and cook uncovered over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken and the strawberries soften.
Add 1 half pint of raspberries, and all the blueberries, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a simmer. Cook for one minute until all the berries are soft. Off the heat, stir in the remaining half pint of raspberries and the Fragoli.
Slice the bread in 1/2-inch-thick slices and remove the crusts. In the bottom of a 7 1/2-inch round by 3-inch high souffle or cake dish, ladle about 1/2 cup of the cooked berry mixture. Arrange slices of bread in a pattern (this will become the top when it's unmolded) and then add more berry mixture to saturate. Continue adding alternating layers of bread, and berries. Finish with cooked berries, using all of the fruit and syrup.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap loosely over the pudding. Find a plate approximately the same diameter as the inside of the souffle dish and place it on top. Weight the plate down with a heavy can and refrigerate (I used a baked beans Heinz Beans can for British effect). Remove the weight after 6 to 8 hours. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving, run a knife around the outside of the pudding and unmold it upside down onto a serving plate. Serve in wedges with whipped cream.
Serves about 8.
|Stewing the fruit|
|Layering the bread and berries|
|After 8 hours of waiting...Voilà!|
I was told by my English friends that the result was delicious, however they recommended (because this is how their Mum made it...) assembling the pudding in a large bowl mold instead of a souffle or cake dish because that way it holds its shape much better as seen below. Next time, I shall try it!
She is certainly berrylicious...