- Prep time 10 hours
- Cook time 10 minutes
- Serves 6 to 8
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
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
loaf dense white sandwich bread (I like Pepperidge Farm)
Heavy cream, for serving
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.