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Pudding UK-style is way more than just a bunch of sweetly flavored goo.
Michael J Wilson

Summer Pudding: Had Me a Blast

It’s just fruit and white bread—seriously

July 12, 2017, 12:00 am

British food is incredibly creative in the most oddly boring way imaginable. Mainly consisting of things stuffed into other things and then boiled, it heavily relies on meat, more meat, some potatoes and then, often, the blood from the meat.

Dessert comes in sickly-sweet or savory versions. Pastries have suet in the crust and tons of sugar. Most are super-simple to make and incorporate pre-made elements. With summer cookouts on my mind, I thought this was the perfect time to revisit one of my favorite weirdo British delights: summer pudding.

“Pudding” is a term used very differently in the UK than the USA. A pudding can be dessert or a savory meal, and mainly implies that the ingredients are encased in something and then set in some way. This includes being boiled, cooked or cooled.

Summer pudding is almost too simple: It’s bread and fruit. That’s it. What makes it amazing are the steps that get you from ingredient list to table.

You’ll need a medium saucepan, a wooden spoon, a strainer, cling wrap and a pudding form. You can go fancy and get a pudding basin (they run in the $15-$20 range), but a good bowl with a nice taper will work just as well. You want the bottom to be about 3 inches round, and the mouth around 8 inches. Anything kinda bell-shaped will work.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. brioche or French bread
  • 12 oz. strawberries
  • 12 oz. blueberries
  • 8 oz. raspberries
  • 8 ounces blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Slice your bread lengthwise into half-inch thick slices. Remove the crusts.

In the saucepan, bring the berries, sugar and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat. Then lower temperature and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the berries release their juice and become very soft. It resembles jam-making at this stage.

Strain the berries from the liquid and set them aside for now.

Time to get messy! Line your bowl with a double layer of cling wrap. You want there to be overhang—lots of it. This will make sense in a minute.

Get one of the more solid slices of bread and cut to fit in the bottom of the bowl. Soak the piece in the juice and place in the bottom of the bowl. You are then going to line the sides of the bowl with the rest of the juice-soaked bread. Overlap the pieces slightly. You can press them into the sides a little as well, but they should be saturated in juice.

Once you have a lined bowl, fill the inside with the fruit mixture. Then you need to use the last of your juice-filled bread to seal the top, hiding all the fruit in a bready tomb. At this point you will look like you murdered someone. This is fine. Mess is good.

Use the leftover parts of the cling wrap to wrap up the pudding tightly. Press down a bit and place a small plate or other covering on the top of the pudding. It should fit in the mouth of the bowl. Put something heavy on top (I used a one-pound bag of sugar) and place in the fridge.

It needs to sit in the fridge for at least eight hours to set fully. You want gelatinous wonderment, not goo.

If you did it right you should be able to open the top of the pudding and plate it easily. Slice and serve cold with ice cream or, to be extra British, clotted cream. Enjoy! It should keep for a few days. Below is a “quick” and “easy” recipe for clotted cream.

Clotted Cream Recipe:

Take 1 quart heavy cream and place in a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water; use a double boiler if you have one. Bring cream to 175 degrees. Then slowly bring cream to 200 degrees and hold it there for an hour. A cracked, yellow foam will form. This is what you want. Set the bowl of cream in an ice bath to cool quickly. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. Skim the yellowed part into a jar and there you have it! Clotted cream. Or, you could just go buy some whipped cream. That works too.


 

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