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