Summer is a time for effortless cooking with in-season fruits and veggies. If you have soft, white sandwich bread and a load of berries, this old-fashioned English treat can be yours in a matter of minutes.
This gorgeous dessert takes almost no prep time, but the “pudding” has to sit in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Try this while on summer vacation at the lake or beach, since the pudding can be made without cooking (let the sugar slowly dissolve into the fruit) or fancy equipment (all you need is a bowl or loaf pan).
Berry Summer Pudding
Serves 8 to 10
English in origin, this show-stopping dessert contains just three ingredients — white bread, berries and sugar.
3 cups raspberries
3 cups blueberries
3 cups blackberries
3 cups strawberries, halved or quartered if large
1 cup granulated sugar
8-10 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Whipped cream and mint sprigs for serving
1. Combine the berries and sugar in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have released their juices and softened a bit — eight to 10 minutes.
2. Pour the berries and juice into a bowl lined with a mesh strainer. After the juice drains into the bowl, set the berries aside in another bowl.
3. Line a loaf pan, bowl, or English pudding basin with a layer of plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of a few inches on each side. Cut bread slices to fit the bottom of the pan or bowl, dip one side of the bread quickly into the strained syrup, and line the bottom with the bread, juice-side down. Repeat with additional bread layers, lining the sides of the pan or bowl, juice-side down. Spoon the fruit mixture into the pan or bowl, topping with a final bread layer to fit. Slowly pour the reserved juices over the top, letting the juice seep through the bread into the berries. Cover the top with the overhanging plastic wrap.
4. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the top and set the pan or bowl on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate the pudding for at least six hours or overnight, weighing down the cardboard with a few soup cans.
5. To serve, unwrap the top of the mold and gently pull the plastic wrap to loosen the sides. Invert the pudding onto a serving tray or plate. Serve sliced with whipped cream and mint sprigs.