Summer Berry Pudding

- Merrill

If the British are known for any particular type of food, it would have to be their puddings. Of course, in the UK, the word "pudding" functions as a stand-in for dessert and can mean anything from cake to ice cream to an actual molded pudding. This second kind of pudding, often viewed as stodgy and boring by the rest of world, has always been popular in my family. We're suckers for rich, dense Christmas Pudding covered in whisky, set aflame and served with hard sauce; for gooey, sweet Sticky Toffee Pudding; and most of all, for magenta-hued, berry-filled Summer Pudding.

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If you've never had Summer Pudding, now's the time. It couldn't be easier to make -- you just line a bowl with some white bread (stale is fine), fill it with berries and a little sugar, top off with more bread and weight it down overnight. The result is the essence of summer: the bread transforms into a sweet, fragrant sponge, and when you cut into the pudding, the berries tumble out like so many rubies and sapphires. And, like many of the best British traditions, this pudding ascribes to the "waste not, want not" philosophy -- old bread and a minimal number of additional ingredients make this a snap to shop for.

Summer Berry Pudding

Berry Summer Pudding

Serves 6 to 8

  • 5 cups mixed berries (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
  • 1 loaf dense white sandwich bread (I like Pepperidge farm)
  • Heavy cream for serving

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Like this post? See Merrill's post from last week: Iced Tea, Two Ways


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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  • Deborah Dowd
    Deborah Dowd
  • borntobeworn
  • thecrabbycook
  • AntoniaJames
  • palmspringsfoodie
I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.


Deborah D. July 27, 2011
I made this dish last summer when f4resh berries were at their height and it is as delicious as it is beautiful!
borntobeworn July 24, 2011
A guy at work is leaving my team to work for another group. Our last design meeting with him is Tuesday and I am making this to share! I was going to make the genius strawberry lemon sorbet but this looks more impressive/exotic :)
thecrabbycook July 24, 2011
As a crabby cook, this is one of my favorite things: a fab dessert with only four ingredients! I have made this many times and it's always a hit. If you can stand to add one more ingredient, a touch of Chambord is nice, or a little lemon juice gives it some zip....
Dr.Insomnia July 27, 2011
The lemon juice seems right, and a little zest might not hurt, either.
AntoniaJames July 21, 2011
What is the brown thing between the bowl and the wooden tray, shown in the slide of your turning the pudding out? I see no mention of what it might be in the instructions. ;o)
palmspringsfoodie July 20, 2011
Oh, I LOVE this, too. One of my favorites, been making it for a few years now. This gorgeous, gem-like dome is especially delicious if a tablespoon or two of Chambord or any raspberry liquer is added to the berry mixture.
palmspringsfoodie July 20, 2011
Oh, I LOVE this, too!! I've been making it for years. It is especially good when a tablespoon or two of Chambord or any raspberry liquer is added to the berry mixture. And what a pretty gem-like dome, indeed!
BlueKaleRoad July 20, 2011
Love summer pudding! Thank you for reminding me of it. Your photo is gorgeous!
cheese1227 July 20, 2011
A classic! I like to do individual ones in ramekins. Impressive to turn out on a plate at the end of a summer dinner party.
Merrill S. July 20, 2011
gingerroot July 19, 2011
Wow, what a gorgeous pudding! I've been running around all morning and just happened to see this on the homepage and had to check it out. Adding this to my list of recipes to try soon!
Merrill S. July 20, 2011
Hope you like it!
lapadia July 19, 2011
My kind of recipe...summer berries!!! Thanks, Merrill!
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
You're welcome!
Kitchen B. July 19, 2011
Gorgeous............As I have a bag of frozen berries to use up....this is ON my list. So on my list. Love the red of the soaked bread....and this could take to being boozy...don't you think?
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
Go for it!
WJCinNJ July 19, 2011
I am assuming this could actually be done with pound cake? Same way?
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
Pound cake might actually be a little too dense (I'm afraid it might crumble once it got saturated in the juices). It would also be a lot sweeter. But hey, give it a shot if you want and report back!
AmyW July 19, 2011
Gorgeous! Adding it to "the list," which is getting longer by the day. :-)
Burnt O. July 19, 2011
A long time family favorite.
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
So glad to hear it! Summer just wouldn't be the same without Summer Pudding.
Burnt O. July 19, 2011
We also make hand pies out of them at the cottage over the fire in those old fashioned, long handled iron pie makers. Buttered bread, same berry filling. Cook over coals about 3 minutes a side, and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and try not to burn your mouth!
Kitchen B. July 19, 2011
Thanks Burnt Offerings for closing the gap and showing us another dimension to Summer-Berry puddings!
dymnyno July 19, 2011
I love summer pudding...It used to be my go to dessert. I think that the bread is really must be dense. A friend tried Wonder Bread and it was terrible; way too soggy.
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
Absolutely right! It really needs to mimic the texture of a sponge cake once it has absorbed the juices, not go all limp and sodden.
aargersi July 19, 2011
So pretty and so easy! Love it!
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
Why, thank you!
drbabs July 19, 2011
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
The best part is that it's a "wow" dessert without an "ay-yi-yi" set of ingredients/instructions.
Summer O. July 19, 2011
That is simply gorgeous.
Merrill S. July 19, 2011
Thank you!