5 Ingredients or Fewer

Berry Summer Pudding

May 27, 2021
4.5 Stars
Author Notes

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 absorbs the juices and melts into a sweet, fragrant sponge, and when you cut into the pudding, the berries tumble out like so many rubies and sapphires. 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. —Merrill Stubbs

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a classic go-to British pudding for a reason; it's perfect to use up any leftover berries and stale bread for a colorful summertime treat. It's also far easier to make than it looks, as the juices from the berries soak into the bread, giving it a vibrant, unforgettable hue when served at the table. This recipe calls for blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, but the possibilities here run the gamut. Try this pudding with strawberries, loganberries, cherries, or black currants. Because you need to extract as much berry juice as possible, make sure that whatever berries you use are nice and ripe. Feel free to substitute frozen berries as well, as long as they are thoroughly thawed. And to make sure that the pudding gets the best texture, seek out a better-quality bread; anything less could result in a grainier, far less appealing texture. It's perfectly fine, and encouraged, to use stale bread as well.

This is also one of our favorite make-ahead desserts. You can prep and cook everything the day before, stick the pudding in the fridge, then let it hang out (for up to 36 hours!) until you're ready for the big reveal. Also, to help you unmold the pudding, it's a good tip to line the bowl with plastic wrap before building. And save any extra berry juice to patch up white spots in case the bread isn't fully soaked through. Finish off with some fresh mint or basil leaves for an even prettier presentation. —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 hours
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Ingredients
  • 5 cups mixed berries (I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
  • 1 loaf dense white sandwich bread (I like Pepperidge Farm)
  • Heavy cream, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the berries and ½ cup sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Taste (careful, it's hot!) and add more sugar if it doesn't seem sweet enough. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until the berries are still whole but have released a significant amount of juice. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Trim the crusts from the bread. Line a 4- to 5-cup bowl or round mold with one layer of bread, cutting the bread into pieces and fitting them in like a puzzle (see the photos above). Carefully spoon about half of the cooled berries and their juices into the bread-lined bowl. Arrange another layer of bread over the berries. Spoon the rest of the berries over the bread layer. Add a final layer of bread to the top, taking it all the way to edges of the bowl so the juices are sealed in.
  3. Cut a round of cardboard to fit inside of the bowl (it should be able to sink down a few inches). Cover the cardboard with foil. Lay the cardboard on top of the pudding and weight it down with something heavy (I used two small cast-iron skillets stacked on top of a shallow bowl turned upside-down). Refrigerate the pudding at least overnight or up to 36 hours.
  4. Remove the weights and the cardboard and carefully turn the pudding out onto a platter. Cut into slices at the table, passing around the cream to drizzle over the top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BeachMom65
    BeachMom65
  • djgibboni
    djgibboni
  • joyce.ciotti
    joyce.ciotti
  • Veronica Park
    Veronica Park
  • Panfusine
    Panfusine

44 Reviews

patricia G. July 5, 2021
I make mine with raspberries, redcurrants and blueberries (failing traditional blackcurrants, which are hard to come by in the U.S..) Save some fruit juice or crush fresh fruit in a sieve and and mix the juice with a little redcurrant jelly to patch up any dry spots.
 
Bella95 March 29, 2020
Summer pudding is so underrated but, so good that l can still remember exactly where l was the first time l ate it almost 30 years ago. I have a couple of Christmas pudding containers- the plastic ones with lids-that l keep especially for my summer pudding stock. My tips, line your bowls with cling film, use stale bread as the juices soak through better, make them when the berry fruit is abundant and leave them in the freezer til you want them. Hey thaw in a couple of hours and it's an absolute joy to be able to pull one of these out of the freezer in the bleak of winter.
 
BeachMom65 August 7, 2018
In Italy, they do this sort of thing with pannacotta, and I could never find the gelatin sheets I needed to contain the fruit when I lived in Switzerland. In this recipe, this is what I did, that I did back in Switzerland, and I must say I got around the issue quite well, indeed :)
I got a huge sourdough 'white' shepherd's round, cut off the hard crust leaving a whole round, soft hollowed out bread bowl. I soaked it briefly in unsweetened coconut milk, placed it re-shapened a bit to fit my spring-form 9" pan, and continued on with the recipe as given. It was wonderful!
The bread had a lovely texture, not soggy, but moist and held its shape. The unsweetened coconut milk gave a nice balance in flavor to the berries along with the berry syrup it soaked up into the sourdough bread round.
***I replaced the top of the bread round under the flat plate. I flipped it at the end, browned it a bit and topped with crème fraîche. This is how we always made it in Switzerland (the state of Baselland) this time of year (July-August) when the black cherries were being picked to make kirsch (cherry schnapps). This recipe does not have too much sugar, hurray! Love it, and thank you!
 
Bridgette N. June 9, 2019
Brilliant.
 
msgruvn September 7, 2013
love this recipe! def line the bowl with plastic wrap, with pleny of overhang so you can wrap up tight. After lining the bowl with dry european type sturdy white bread, l take it out and put a thin spread of current jelly on the inside surface of the bread and dip the outside in the juice, refit, then add berries with a slotted spoon. pour the juice over. use coconut sugar.
 
Teri September 2, 2013
Just came across almost this exact recipe in Laura Schenone's "A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove," quoted from Mrs. Horace Mann's "Christianity in the Kitchen," 1857. Mrs. Mann calls for " one quart each whortleberries (like blueberries), raspberries, blackberries, a pint of currants, and a pound of brown sugar. . . . Any sweet and acid fruit combined will answer." I assume that the currants add a tartness that is not required in the more recent version.
 
djgibboni August 19, 2013
It's not a bad idea to first line your bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap so that the pudding unmolds without hesitation.
 
LesleyC August 9, 2013
This is the best, best, best of all English summer desserts, except Gooseberry Fool! I made one two weeks ago which was in a VERY large pudding basin. I also use strawberries - I don't use scales for the fruit just do it all by eye - cooked some of the strawberries but left the rest whole and added them to the cooked fruit - they look like large rubies when the Summer Pudding is cut. I probably had about 5lb of fruit in total. I also separate the fruit from the syrup and place the syrup in a shallow bowl and as I start to line the bowl carefully and quickly swish the bread slices through the fruit syrup - this will ensure that the bread is completely coloured. Any fruit syrup over is refrigerated and served in a jug and if you can get clotted cream so much the better
 
PaigeP August 7, 2013
I'm thinking a paper plate work just fine instead of having to find a clean piece of cardboard, cut it and cover it with foil. :)
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. August 7, 2013
If you have the right size for your bowl, that should work fine!
 
lucia August 7, 2013
It is a very old traditional Scotish pudding.
 
sandra August 7, 2013
how nice not to have to make the crust... but does it get super soggy?
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. August 7, 2013
Yes, but that's the point! It really is pudding-like texture.
 
joyce.ciotti July 4, 2013
What a fabulous alternative to berry pie. I am making one with gf almond bread. Wish me good luck!
 
VeganFingerMonkey June 3, 2013
Hi Merrill, this looks fantastic, simple and healthy! However, I have Type 1 diabetes and the sugar wouldn't work out well for me. Do you think agave nectar would work?
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. June 3, 2013
I haven't tried it with agave, but I don't see why not!
 
Savannah N. August 30, 2013
If you want to go for something healthier, there are "whole wheat white" sandwich breads that are pretty high in protein and fiber and still have the texture of enriched white bread.
 
Savannah N. August 30, 2013
[Oh no, I replied to the wrong thread and can't figure out how to delete this comment-- please disregard!]
 
msgruvn September 7, 2013
use coconut sugar-very low glycimic (sp)...lower than agave i'm pretty sure!
 
Penketh April 4, 2013
can you use wholemeal bread for this recipe.
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. April 4, 2013
As long as it's not too grainy, I think it would work -- you want a soft bread, not a coarse one.
 
Ramannino January 3, 2022
Hi Merrill-could i try this recipe with a pound cake or somethinf similar?
 
Veronica P. September 16, 2012
Can you use frozen berries in a pinch?
 
Author Comment
Merrill S. September 18, 2012
Yes, sure. You probably won't need a full 5 cups, as frozen berries are already broken down a little -- I'd start with 4-4 1/2 and see how it goes.
 
patchevrier September 2, 2012
I have made so many of your recipes and loved them. Why can I not print with the photo and recipe? This would make it easier to locate the recipe I am looking for Thanks so much!!
 
Dana P. July 3, 2012
Wow'd the crowd and impressed myself. Soooo easy, so pretty - garnish with mint leaves and homemade whip cream. Delicious.
 
Linda M. October 23, 2011
Just like Granny used to make! Lovely!
 
Panfusine September 9, 2011
made a variation of this in India with the local tropical fruits, Mango, pineapple, grapes dotted with fresh pomegranate spiced with cardamom. (the bread available there does not have that unpleasant telltale acrid note of preservative vinegar. & the end result was Fabulous! ) observation make sure that the bowl used in not too deep or high walled, the dish tends to cave a bit when unmolded.
 
cooking V. September 8, 2011
lovely looking and interesting ingredients- i conclude this as a delicious authentic pudding and so easy top prepare
 
borntobeworn July 26, 2011
I made this last night and served it today. I know I cooked the fruit long enough but the outer layer of bread wasn't soaked through completely with the juice. I had a heavy weight on top so I'm wondering if my bowl was too shallow. Of course, it was delicious! When I make it again, I'll do it with more fruit in my bowl to make it a little taller (mine was about 2" tall). Thanks for the recipe -- so easy and others think it looks exotic :)
 
Panfusine July 26, 2011
I had the same issue about the soaking, I simply made up some more berry syrup (this time crushing the berries well, strained the syrup & manually poured it over!)
 
msgruvn September 7, 2013
dip the outside surface of bread quickly in juice b4 assembly-really helps a lot...