Why settle for a dessert with only one kind of berry when you can combine all the best the season has to offer in a dish appropriately called “Summer Pudding.” This deliciously simple sweet some attribute to the English; however, it's popular with Irish cooks as well and can be made either as one large pudding or as single serves in ramekins. 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,” since the dessert is actually more like a chilled fruit compote surrounded by white bread! After the fruit and bread have mingled overnight, the result is a colorful and unusual dessert that almost looks too pretty to eat. You’ll find this recipe and others like it in my newest cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland. To order a signed copy, visit www.irishcook.com
Serves 4 to 6
6 cups mixed berries
3/4 cup sugar
24 slices firm white bread, crusts removed
Whipped cream, clotted cream, or crème fraîche for serving
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine berries and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until berries begin to break down and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
2. Line a 1-quart mold (soufflé dish, mixing bowl, or charlotte mold) with plastic wrap. Cut 16 slices of bread in half to form 2 triangles each. Cut remaining slices in half to form 2 rectangles each.
3. Place half of the triangles on the bottom of mold to cover it completely. Place rectangles around the side of mold, overlapping each piece. Spoon berries into mold. Arrange remaining bread triangles over top and cover with plastic wrap.
4. Set mold on a plate to catch any juices that spill out. Fit another plate on top and place a weight on it (use a can of coffee or beans) to ensure that bread absorbs all juices. Refrigerate overnight.
5. To unmold, remove plastic wrap from top. Invert mold onto a clean serving plate. Remove plastic wrap from pudding, cut into wedges, and serve with cream or crème fraîche.
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