We are in the height of blueberry goodness and I am loving more than a pint of blueberries a week. I’ve been popping them straight into the mouth, accessorizing my cereal in the morning, polka-dotting buttermilk pancakes and dreaming of blueberry desserts. So, when an email turned up in my inbox last week from Gourmet with the subject line “Ruth’s Blueberry Recipe Picks,” I clicked with eager anticipation. Ruth writes, “Blueberries taste great, they’re gorgeous, and they’re good for you.” Exclamation point to that.
One of the items on her “favorites” list was Summer Pudding with Blueberries. After reading the recipe, my excitement grew. Something that resembles bread pudding (which I love) that doesn’t require turning on the oven, can be made days ahead of serving AND showcases the summer’s best, fresh berries?!?! No brainer. Right up my alley.
I was, unfortunately, unable to find a brioche loaf so I used challah. And, I mixed a few blackberries in with the blueberries and raspberries. Carefully, I lined the bowl with the bread, filled in the cooked fruit, topped with bread, soaked with syrup, weighted it all down with a big can of baked beans and tucked my baby in the fridge over night.
The next afternoon, I couldn’t wait any longer to turn it out and marvel at my newest creation. We decided to have a pre-lunch dessert. I held my breath, flipped the bowl and uncovered it, preparing for an audible, “TA DA!!!!!!” Quickly, my shoulders sagged and brow furrowed. I expected a deep, berry-colored mound. And, as you can see, it was not. The sauce had not soaked through the bread!
I included the above photo because you can see that the unsoaked bread did not stop us from cleaning our plates. But, I was still a bit disappointed. Maybe it was the challah vs. brioche? Maybe I didn’t let it sit long enough? Is there a Summer Pudding Expert out there who can help?
There are so many things that I LOVE about the idea of Summer Pudding that this will not be my last attempt. In the short term, I think I will endure the heat of the oven and make this Blueberry Crisp.
p.s. I cut the sugar in half and was happy with the tart/sweet balance.
Summer Pudding with Blueberries and Raspberries
from Gourmet, July 2007
A little easy preparation, plus time, yields a gorgeous old-fashioned English dessert that showcases summer berries in the most glorious way. The bread retains a bit of its texture and absorbs all the natural juices exuded by the berries for a cool, smooth intensity.
1 unsliced rectangular loaf of brioche or good-quality firm white bread such as Pullman (1 lb), crusts discarded
4 cups blueberries (1 lb)
5 cups raspberries (18 oz)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
A deep 2 1/2-quart bowl (preferably 8 inches in diameter across top and 3 inches across bottom); a platter with a lip
Cut bread into 14 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Cut out a 3-inch round from 1 slice and put in bottom of bowl. Line side of bowl with 10 slices, overlapping them slightly. Bring berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries collapse and release their juices, about 8 minutes. Spoon fruit into a sieve set over a bowl and let drain 15 minutes. Spoon drained fruit into bread-lined bowl (reserve juices) and cover completely with remaining bread, cutting bread to fit.
Pour juices evenly over bread, making sure all bread is saturated. Cover pudding directly with a piece of wax paper and place a 7-inch plate, upside down, on top of paper. Put a 1- to 1 1/2-pound weight (such as a large can) on plate and chill at least 8 hours.
Remove weight, plate, and wax paper and invert platter over bowl, then invert bowl onto platter. Carefully unmold.