Kaili loves to cook—from comfort food to fine cuisine—and was the recipient of a silver medal in a food and wine matching competition.
The history of English puddings is long and varied. The first English pudding recipes involved cooking the pudding in skins—think haggis. There were also sweet puddings cooked in skin, including a very early variety of rice pudding, as well as something called 'hack pudding', a sweet haggis pudding traditionally served at Christmas. Dripping puddings, including the well-known Yorkshire pudding, came later.
Fruit puddings were traditionally made with pastry, or short-paste, as it was known. The moulds used to make these puddings were several inches deep, and the pudding was cooked by submerging the mould in boiling water.
This fabulous bread pudding recipe requires no skins, and it's a great way to use up stale bread and showcase summer berries. It is among my favorite dessert recipes during the summer months.
Ready? Let's get cooking.
Preparation Time (Does Not Include Overnight Refrigeration)
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
Serves 8 people (1 slice of pudding per serving)
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup fresh blackberries, or red or black currants
- ½ cup sugar
- 11 slices thin sandwich bread, crusts removed
- Combine the berries and sugar in a saucepan, stirring well to coat the berries.
- Place the saucepan on the burner, cover, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pan and stir the berries. If the berries are still quite firm, put the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another minute or so until the berries become soft. The berry juices will combine with the sugar to make syrup. Remove the pan from the burner.
- With a bread knife, remove the crusts from bread slices. Take 4 of the crustless slices and place them tightly together on a cutting board so that they form a square. Place 4 more slices on top. Take the remaining 3 slices and cut them in half.
- Place your soufflé or baking dish on top of a piece of paper and trace around the base. Cut out the paper circle and place it on top of the 8 stacked slices of bread. Using the paper circle as a guide, cut the 2 layers of bread to form a circle. Don't worry if it isn't a perfect circle (see photo above).
- Line your soufflé dish with plastic wrap, laying one piece horizontally and one vertically, making sure to tear off enough so that there is a good amount hanging over the edge of the dish. Take 4 of the bread pieces you cut to form a circle and place them in the bottom of the dish.
- Take the 6 half slices remaining and use them to line the sides of the dish. Place them end-to-end in the dish, making sure the fit is snug.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the berries from the pan and pack them into the soufflé dish until they are level with the top of the bread.
- Use the 4 remaining bread pieces cut to form a circle and place them on top. Strain the juice from the pan evenly over the top of the bread.
- Set the soufflé dish on a large plate or in a cake pan to catch drips. Place a small plate on top of the bread and then put a weight on top—a large, heavy can of veggies does nicely **As shown in this recipe, if you have a companion 2 cup soufflé dish, you might find that it fits nicely into the 3 cup and can be used in place of a plate. Place the pudding in the fridge overnight.
- To serve the pudding, remove the can and plate. Place a cake plate over the top of the pudding and then flip them both upside down, allowing the pudding to settle onto the plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Garnish the pudding with fresh berries. Cut into slices using a knife.
Tips for Making This Tasty Dish
- Summer berries are plentiful right now, so mix it up and choose the berries that are readily available and fresh—think local. Strawberries were added to the recipe (shown at right) simply because the local berries are so plentiful and sweet.
- The idea is to cook the berries until they are somewhat soft but not mushy.
- If you don’t have a 3-cup soufflé dish, use a similarly sized bowl or baking dish; the straighter the sides, the better.
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© 2012 Kaili Bisson