What could be sweeter (and easier) than a big bowl of fresh berries for a summer dessert? A trifle, perhaps? A cobbler? A summer pudding? A bit more effort, I agree, but the rewards are greater too. You'll find recipes for other delicious summer recipes in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland. Order a signed copy now and get one FREE at www.irishcook.com
Some attribute this deliciously simple dessert to the English, but it's equally popular in Ireland. As its name indicates, summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are the main ingredients. But don’t be fooled by the word “pudding” in its name, since the dessert is actually made with white bread or brioche! After the fruit and bread have mingled overnight, the result is a colorful and unusual dessert that almost looks too pretty to eat. I’ve been a fan since 1999 when the recipe first appeared in my Irish Heritage Cookbook.
8 cups mixed berries
3/4 cup sugar
24 slices firm white bread or brioche, crusts removed
Whipped cream or clotted cream, for serving
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine berries and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until berries soften and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Strain berry mixture, reserving all juice and berries.
2. Line a 2-quart soufflé dish or mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Cut one piece of bread to fit bottom of bowl; dip into juice and place in bottom of bowl. Cut remaining slices into wedges; dip each piece, one at a time, into juice.
3. Place three-quarters of juice-soaked bread or brioche wedges against sides of bowl, pressing to remove any gaps. Spoon berries into center and top with remaining wedges. Cover with plastic wrap.
4. Set bowl on a plate to catch any juices that spill out. Lay another plate on top and place a weight on it. Use a can of coffee or beans to ensure that the bread absorbs all the juices. Refrigerate overnight.
5. To unmold, remove weights and plastic wrap from the top. Invert bowl onto a clean serving plate and quickly turn over together. Remove plastic wrap from rest of pudding. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.