White bread never tasted so good !!
Truth be told, I cannot remember when I last tasted white bread. Give me whole grain, rye, sourdough, pumpernickel… anything but white bread. My friend Angie knows that if I plan to bake my own bread I might have whole wheat or spelt flour on hand, but white bread is just not in the picture.
So you can imagine my eyebrows springing to my hairline when I saw that Oli added a loaf of white bread to the grocery shopping list. “Really? White bread?” His reply was “you will not believe how white bread is transformed in the recipe I am going to make. You just have to trust me on this.”
And so he worked culinary magic and morphed a loaf of white bread and the first of the season’s ripe berries into English summer pudding. No, not the smooth, creamy kind of pudding we know. Apparently the English call any sweet dish served after the main course a pudding. (So it is not uncommon for Brits to ask “what’s for pudding?” when inquiring about dessert.) Anyway, summer pudding is an English classic in which plain ole white bread soaks up the season’s best berries resulting in one delectably decadent dessert.
July 4th celebrates our independence from Britain, but I don’t think that anyone would fault you for serving summer pudding at your holiday party. Blue and red berries, served up with slightly sweetened white whipped cream. Plant a small sparkler or a tooth pick size old glory atop this simple but luscious homage to summertime goodness and no one needs to know its origin.
Choose a firm white bread for this recipe.
Make this a day before serving.
1 loaf firm, sliced white bread (day old and crust removed from all 4 sides)
1 1/2 cups raspberries
1 1/2 cups strawberries, cut to equal the size of the other berries
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups blackberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 serving cups (1-cup size each)
Line the cups
1.Cut bread into 4 circles that will fit into the bottom of each cup. Cut remaining bread into strips of a size that will fit the sides of the cup.
2. Arrange side pieces so that they are snug against each other before adding the next slice. Dont overlap them but make sure they are snug. Place bottom bread round in cup
Make the filling
1. Place berries, sugar and water in a large skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Gently mix to blend. Cook for about a minute – not longer. You should have a lot of sauce and the berries should remain firm and keep their shape.
Fill the cups
1. Fill each bread lined cup to the top with berries and sauce. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of sauce, as the bread will soak it up overnight. Refrigerate remaining berries and sauce until serving.
2. Place cups on a tray or in a container with sides and cover with plastic wrap.
3. Refrigerate overnight.
4. To serve, simply turn each cup upside down over a serving plate. The pudding should come out easily. You can gently shake the cup if you do need to loosen it a bit.
5. Spoon remaining berries and sauce onto plate and serve with whipped cream.
Have a Happy 4th!