From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've made this dessert for years, in forms both plain and fancy. I first had the pudding as a child when it was prepared by a Swedish neighbor for a Midsummer's Eve celebration. I developed a fancy for its tart berry sweetness and it was one of the first desserts I made as a bride. Once I had my own kitchen, I turned to recipes that had been develop by British food writers. I suspect I was working on the theory that no one knows puddings better than the Brits, and if I wanted the very best recipe for summer pudding, I'd most likely find it tucked somewhere within their collective writings. So, in flights of fancy, I moved across the pond and dallied with the likes of Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson, who curiously enough, led me back to the Hamptons and the kitchen of Ina Garten, where I finally found the pudding of my dreams. On a more practical note, as you glance through the recipe you'll notice that no provision is made for greasing the pudding mold. That's because it is not necessary. If you have weighted the pudding and let it chill overnight, it will release once it is freed from the sides of the mold with a knife. I've also come to the conclusion that the bread you use for the pudding is not as important as many would lead you to believe. Brioche or challah are both wonderful, but a good quality sandwich bread works well too. The colors of this pudding, especially when it is served with a mound of whipped cream, make it a perfect dessert for an upscale the 4th of July celebration. I do hope you'll try this recipe. Those of you who like barely sweet and seasonal treats will be in heaven. Here's Ina's recipe.
Summer Pudding...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Ina Garten
Pudding1 pint strawberries, cored and sliced
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 cups ( 3 1/2-pint containers) fresh raspberries, plus additional for garnish
1 pint blueberries, plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons framboise (or other raspberry liqueur)
1 to 1-1/2 pounds brioche or other egg bread
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark rum
1) Combine strawberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a large (6- to 8-quart) saucepan and cook uncovered over medium-low heat 5 minutes. Add 2 cups raspberries and all blueberries and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture simmers. Continue cooking 1 minute. Remove from heat and add remaining raspberries and framboise.
2) Slice bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices and remove crusts. Ladle about 1/2 cup cooked berry mixture into bottom of soufflé dish (approximately 7-1/2 inches across by 3 inches high). Arrange one layer of bread slices side by side in a circular pattern (this will become the top when pudding is unmolded). Add more berry mixture to saturate. Continue adding bread, slicing to fit mold, and berry mixture. Finish with bread, and top with any remaining berry mixture.
3) Cover pudding loosely with plastic wrap and place a plate (with approximately the same diameter as inside of mold) on top. Weight with a heavy can and refrigerate. Remove weight after 6 to 8 hours. Continue to refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Yield: 8 servings.
4) Just before serving, whip cream in a small bowl until it starts to thicken. Add sugar, vanilla and rum. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
5) To serve: Run a knife around outside of pudding; unmold onto a serving plate. Garnish with fresh fruit. Serve in wedges with whipped cream. yield: 8 servings.
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