Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Summer Pudding

My grandmother served this dessert once, maybe seven or ten (or more!) years ago. It was so good, fresh and spicy and wonderfully berry-y that I've been thinking about it periodically ever since. Every now and then I'd bring it up in conversation with my mother and go "we should make that sometime!" And then I'd get distracted by crème brûlée or cheesecake or chocolate souffle, and the summer pudding never happened.

summer pudding

Until this weekend. This isn't my grandmother's recipe, just something I cobbled together, adding my favorite spices (ever since making the spicy swirl cake that kicked off this blog I've been living some kind of cardamom renaissance - it really is a fabulous spice to use in desserts) and using up the leftover French Bread from Friday and an I'm-afraid-to-think-how-old splosh of white wine from the fridge, thus making this my entry for this month's Leftover Tuesday, hosted by Rachel. (ETA: check out the roundup here.)

summer pudding

I think you can probably use any kind of fruit in this, frozen or fresh. I went for raspberries, bilberries and blackcurrants, frozen ones naturally since we are about as far from summer as you can get, and added a splosh of white wine for extra depth. The berries are simmered in sugar and spices (cardamom and cinnamon in this case) and poured into a bowl lined with bread and topped with another layer of bread and then weighted down in the fridge overnight so the bread soaks up all the juices and turns a wonderful purple color. A perfect easy/healthy dessert to finish a heavy meal or a weeknight dinner. Yum.

summer pudding

Summer Pudding with Cardamom & White Wine

1 large loaf of dense (white) bread, sliced and with crusts cut off
1 kg (2 pounds) berries, I used about 600 g raspberries and 200 g each bilberries and blackcurrants
3 whole cardamom pods + ½ tsp crushed cardamom seeds
1 stick cinnamon
100 ml sugar (depending on how tart your berries are and how much of a sweet tooth you have)
splosh of white wine
grated peel of ½ a lemon

Heat the cardamoms, cinnamon, sugar and wine in a large pan until sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and let stand for a while to let the spices flavor the syrup. Add the berries and lemon peel to the pan. (If you want to make things easy for yourself, fish out the cardamom pods at least before adding the berries. I didn't and had had to hunt for them later.) It will seem like A LOT of berries, but don't worry.

Turn on the heat again and simmer until the berries start letting out their juices. Meanwhile, line a medium-sized bowl (or several small ones, or ramekins, or whatever) first with a large piece of clingfilm (you'll need to cover the bowl completely with the edges later) and then with bread slices, overlapping and pressing them together so there are no cracks in between. If you're making this in portion-sized cups, make sure to slice your bread very thinly or the berries-to-bread ratio will go all wonky.

Spoon the berry mixture on the bread, reserving some of the juices (if you've used frozen berries like me, chances are you'll have a lot of liquid, but that's OK). Top the bowl with more bread, again making sure there are no cracks, and spoon on some of the reserved juices (not all of them, though).

Fold the edges of the clingfilm over the bread and weigh down with a plate topped with something heavy (such as, say, more plates). Leave in the fridge overnight.

To serve, unfold the clingfilm, invert bowl over a plate and remove both bowl and clingfilm. Moisten any white patches of bread with the last of the juices and serve along with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. (Although frankly, when I had it the following day without either it was even better.)

summer pudding


Freya said...

I made this last summer and served it with mascarpone vanilla cream - it was delicious! Yours looks so perfect and summery!

Tag(Carpet)Bagger said...

Great food shots - I'm positively drooling here...

deinin said...

Freya: I was a bit anxious about this one since I'd been thinking about it for so long, but it was just as wonderful as I remembered!

Tag(Carpet)Bagger: thanks! This was one of the more challenging foods to shoot since the light tended to reflect off the juiciness in a not-altogether-appealing manner.

juandno/No said...

Terve! :)

I just clicked after commenting at nami-nami to see what people are cooking there :) Soooo wonderful! I wish I could cook so wonderful like you! Soon I am moving to Helsinki and its a good start to know there is a food master ;)

deinin said...

juandno: I'm not sure I'd quite agree with the 'master' part, but thank you! I hope you'll enjoy living in Helsinki. :)

rachel said...

That looks so amazing. I can't believe it's made using leftovers! Your photography is so good it looks like it should be sitting on my coffee table waiting for me to take a bite :)

By the way, the Leftover Tuesdays Roundup is now posted. Thanks for participating!

deinin said...

Rachel - it was really just as good as it looks! And so easy to make: it's not like you have to bake your own bread for it.

I'm looking forward to checking out all the other entries!

Eva said...

Hey, you've got some amazing pictures on your blog! I especially like the summer pudding and the shrove bun pics!

deinin said...

Eva, thank you! Those are my favorite pictures so far, I think, although I found the summer pudding really hard to photograph - the moistness of the berry juice wanted to be all glary and stuff.

Linda from NJ said...

Isn't summer pudding one of the best desserts ever! I just love it and yours looks amazing.

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Anonymous said...

I've been making this for years too for Christmas Day, but lost the recipe somewhere in unsorted archives, so thanks for putting this up. this year mine tastes a little blah without the wine -rose-so it's good to know you can use just white. And using cardamom pods will add more flavour , somehow my 2 yr old cardamom powder has lost it's zing as well.
Seasons greetings and cheeriness

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