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English Summer Berry Pudding - Yum, and no-cook!

I have made this most summers I have been home in Seattle in August when we (finally!) get really hot weather. This recipe is my own amalgam of many versions I have made over the years, since living in Enlgand as a teenager, and having for the first time. There are a few on the internet, but none that I like as well as my own version that turns out perfect every time.

This is my favorite translation of the bounty of summer fruit besides raw for breakfast, with greek yogurt, or making jams, etc. canned or frozen.

This is a party-worthy dessert, that - yes!- even those of you waiting out the huriccane can make. As long as your refridgeration is still good. :)

The bounty of summer, in a bowl or loaf pan...

English Summer Pudding

2 cups strawberries (everbearing locals are best)

2 cups blackberries

2 cups raspberries

1 cup other berries; blueberries, currants, salal berries, gooseberries. (If you use some of these more tart berries, you might want to up the sugar by a TBSP or 2...)

Divide berries after steps 1&2.

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp finely grated lemon peel, from a rasp or microplane

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 loaf fine quality white sandwish bread *, 'staled", by leaving out on the counter overnight, to dry out a bit.

*nearly the only time I buy this; pepperidge farm firm white, good local bakery artisanal loaf, sliced thinly -You can ask to have sliced at bakeries! I never use it like this unless for such a recipe...

Whipping Cream, Heavy, 1 pt.

Vanilla or a vanilla bean

Sugar to taste if you prefer sweet whipped cream

1. clean the berries gently, strawberries being rinsed, raspberries and black berries picked over, and if dirty or sandy, gently dribbled with water and patted gently with paper towels. Stem strawberried, and cut into 1/4's or 1/2's if large (smaller pieces are good for this recipe).

2. In a large bowl, gently mix all the berries well, saving a few of each for garnish.

3. Put 1/2 the berries into a large saucepan with the sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice.

4. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring up from the bottom a few times. Simmer for about 3-6 minutes until the berries give up jouice and soften, but are mostly still intact. Take off heat immediately and allow to cool.

5. Prepare pudding mold*; take wither a 2 qt bowl or a 9x5 loaf pan and line with plastic wrap, leaving a gerous overhang. If you like, you can spray the mold with oil spray, but I don't find I need to. Plastic sticks to glass or plastic just fin. Line the mold with bread slices - with crusts cut off, and cutting the pieces to fit your mold so that all is lined evenly with no gaps or spaces.
You will also need crust-free bread for a couple of layerings in the mold, and to cover the top. prep these now or as you go.

6. When the berry mix has cooled at least mostly, gently stir, then stir in the uncooked berries. Put 2 cups of the berry mix into the bread lined bowl/mold. Put a layer of trimmed bread over this, and gently firm. Top with more berries, and more bread, repeating procedure. When bowl/mold is filled, top with a layer of breat. Soak with berry juices to settle. wrap plastc overhang over top.

7. Refridgerate for an hour or two to firm, then place a plate on top slightly smaller than mold on top, and gently wieght down, with a couple of cans. Leave in fridge for 12 hours at least before unmolding. 15-18 at most.

8. Whip cream and sweeten if desired, as well as adding vanilla. I like unsweetened with vanilla added.

9. remove weight, plate, and covering wrap from pudding. Place a serving plate over top, and flip to invert pudding onto plate. Shake gently and unmold. You may have excess juice that runs out, so over the sink is a good choice now. Wipe serving plate, remove plastic wrap covering lovely summer berry pudding. Serve with whipped cream to your delighted guests.

I may have made it too clinical in the recipe, but this is a TO DIE FOR no-cook summer berry dessert. Go and make it! :)

*Note: I like a 2 qt bowl, but you can use a 9x5 loaf pan if you prefer. It is easier to weight a bowl with a plate, than find something to wieght down the loaf pan, plus I like the round shape. Your choice:). Also, This works better with 'big wrap', aka costco or commercial sized food plastic, as a seam in the wrap can leak, and be messy to unmold. Ok if your fine with it, just a heads up!.

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  1. LOVE it!

    I made it for company a few summers ago. It was unfamiliar and of such a color that they all -- very politely -- passed on it. Too bad for them. More for me!

    Old fashioned, unfussy, bliss!

    2 Replies
    1. re: rainey

      Rainey - thanks for the support!
      Isn't it funny - it absolutely the color of a bowl of mashed summer berries - how could anyone say no to that without at least tasting?

      But, bet you enjoyed it alone:)

      1. re: gingershelley

        Don't know what their problem with purple bread was but my family enjoyed it to the last whipped cream dolloped slice!

    2. Bumping this thread. After reading about some summer puddings in the WFD #232 thread, I decided to search for some recipes.

      I'm going to attempt my first proper English Summer Pudding tomorrow morning, using your recipe, gingershelley. Heading out to buy some white bread.
      :-)

      6 Replies
      1. re: prima

        Here's another recipe - from the doyenne of British home cookery - http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/ty...

        The key to a great summer pudding is having a high proportion of currants - red or black. They add a sharpness to counteract an otherwise very sweet dessert.

        1. re: Harters

          Thank you so much, Harters.

          1. re: Harters

            Ah, good advice Harters; we do that here with blackberries to give enough tang. Would love currants, but alas they are scarce on our horizon's. Don't know why - our summers are not much warmer than yours, and winters similar. Someone should be growing them in the PNW:)!

            1. re: Harters

              Harters, can I use my gooseberries as a substitute for currants in this? The birds got to my currants before I could pick them, but we do have a lot of gooseberries that I managed to put nets over in time.

              They are very sour--my husband claims he lost vision in one eye after tasting them. I don't mind sour, but I do want my family to eat my pudding.

              1. re: Isolda

                I've never seen it with gooseberries but I see no reason why you couldnt use them. When you get to the fruit simmering stage, maybe it might be an idea to do them separately from the other fruit - they'll take a bit longer to soften and you may need to balance the sweet/sour with them a bit more than you would with currants. I'll be interested to know how it goes, if you do try it.

                In the UK, gooseberries and elderflowers are often paired. We'll usually add a good splash of elderflower syrup or cordial to anything with gooseberries and it might be worth trying in this (assuming the cordia/syrup is available where you are)

            2. re: prima

              Oh, Prima - thanks for the reminder:)

              We are just getting to when I have enough local berries to make this myself again. Hoping there may be berries at my farmer's market tomorrow. I love it when I can put blackberries or boysenberries in it the best.

              It is a FAVORITE summer dessert. Please report back!

              GOOD white bread is important, also.

            3. It's like a conspiracy, summer puddings are everywhere today! Clearly a sign that I must make one soon. My husband loves them.

              I don't like to use strawberries in mine but raspberries and redcurrants are must haves for me. I also like to use a bit of rosewater or violet syrup.

              2 Replies
              1. re: helen_m

                Oh, helen-m; the rosewater or syrup idea is a fine one!

                I have ginger syrup, blackcurrant (French Kir syrup) and orange flower.... must experiment - thanks for the tip!

                1. re: gingershelley

                  Kir sounds a great addition. I have a bottle lurking in the cupboard from our trip to France a few eeks back.

              2. Made my first one of the season this week too, from an abundance of summer berries at the allotment.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Londonlinda

                  Our first, made by the good hands of my companion in life, now sits in the fridge, weighted down. There's strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. No currants to be found anywhere so, hopefully, the blackberries will add some tartness. Lots of juice retained from the simmering to pour over before serving.

                2. Yours is NOT a no-cook recipe.

                  IMO, nothing beats an uncooked ripe berry. I much prefer macerating them in sugar or honey, then spooning them into a dessert shell or over pound, angel, or chiffon cake, which can be store-bought. Doesn't get simpler or better than that.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    greygarious,

                    Well, your right, there is a brief simmer involved, but essentially, you get a 'pudding' or cake, without baking...

                    Don't knock it till you try it. I find it is kind of a magical dessert for most americans, who usually haven't come across this berry dessert before. Sure, I like berries over pound cake, etc. but it's pretty standard stuff....:)

                    1. re: gingershelley

                      I HAVE had it and thought it was just okay. Maybe if the cooking step could be avoided....

                  2. Can I use sweet cherries along with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pagesinthesun

                      I have never used cherries, but I am sure that would work as long as you cut them up some, and had enough juicier berries to soak the bread :)

                    2. I made a summer pudding for Independence Day this year and it was a huge hit. It was similar to the above recipe except I have read that strawberries can result in a mushy pudding. Keeping that in mind, I used a combo of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Also, once I cooked the berries, I reserved about 1/3 cup of the resulting red juice and used it to "color" the pudding once I inverted it on a platter.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: snusan

                        To some large extent, the collapsing strawberries are part of the dish, offering a different texture particularly to the more firm currants.