Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Berry Pudding

Once all the kids were out of the house, my mom decided to become a real cook - not one that caters to the picky palates of children. When Mom and Dad got satellite TV, Mom discovered the FoodNetwork and began turning out some amazing food.

Then the FoodNetwork got into the "reality" show business and it wasn't really about cooking anymore - it was more about competition and winning. Thank goodness the formerly Fine Style network became CookTV - with real chefs doing their thing there.. One of Mom's discoveries on the new channel was a program called "Chuck's Day Off" with a chef (Chuck) who cooks on his day off. These are the recipes that Chuck makes when he's not cooking for a living.

Anyway, Mom recorded a show that included something called Summer Berry Pudding. Given the abundance of blueberries at their house, and the relative cheapness of fruit at the store, she gave it a try. OMG. It was sheer heaven to put a spoonful of that into my mouth. Of course, I had to give it a try.

I got my ingredients together. There are no fresh cranberries right now, so I bought a bag of dried ones. Since they will all be cooked, I figured they'd rehydrate and be fine. I was right about that...



So, berries and a cup of sugar. I thought I'd be smart and go half and half with sugar and Splenda so it wouldn't be too much of a diabetic nightmare.



I put the berries in a pot and added the sugar/Splenda and cooked them on low for a while until there was a good amount of juice. I didn't cook them so long that the berries lost their shape. I may have needed to cook them slightly longer as it turns out. One of the things Mom said was that her pudding was a bit soupy, so I drained my berries in a colander, catching the juice in a bowl underneath.


When making a pudding, old bread works better. I didn't have old bread though, so I cut mine up and put it in the oven to dry out a bit. That worked pretty well. Then I dipped ONE side of the bread in the berry juice and put it into a lined-with-clingwrap dish, juice side out.

It's important to line the dish with enough clingwrap to fold back over the top of the pudding, covering it completely when you're done. I added my drained berries...


...then covered them over with more bread (juice-side out). After that, I folded the clingwrap back over the pudding, placed a plate (or in my case, the inverted lid of the casserole dish) on top and weighed it down with a couple of cans to compress the pudding. Left it in the fridge overnight and most of the next day.

After dinner, I folded back the top clingwrap, placed a plate on top and inverted it to land on the plate. It slipped right out of the dish and I removed the rest of the clingwrap.

I had reserved the drained juice and after cutting a piece of pudding, drizzled berry juice over it and added a dollop of whipped cream. It was REALLY good!

Now... Here's what I learned. Don't drain too much of the juice off the berries. It may have been better if I'd transferred the berries from the pot to the dish with a slotted spoon rather than draining them in the colander. Also, I'm not sure doing half sugar and half Splenda worked. It tasted fine, but there was little cohesion inside the pudding. Cooked sugar kind of acts like glue and would have held it all together better, I think. And having a bit more of it on the berries would have made for a better pudding. The other thing is that there wasn't quite enough juice inside to soak the inside of the pieces of bread, which is what should have happened. There were parts where the bread was still brown and didn't have any juice on that side at all.
Guess I'm going to have to try it again!

13 comments:

ari_1965 said...

I have the DVDs of the Two Fat Ladies cooking show from the 1990s. In one episode, Jennifer Paterson does a version of this with pureed tomatoes.

ari_1965 said...

I was going to mention that she puts both a plate on top and a weight on top of that. I wonder if an extra weight would have pressed juice into all your bread.

Just a thought.

Sayre said...

I think it's the bread soaked with whatever it is that makes it a pudding. Tomato sauce, berry juice, meat drippings... just not all at the same time (I would hope!).

Sayre said...

There is a plate-like thing on top (it's the lid to the casserole turned upside down) with cans on top to weigh it down. That's why I think I needed to leave more juice in with the berries rather than letting them drain so much. It's probably a fine line between soup and pudding.

~sWaMpY~ said...

Yum...please pass me a portion of that.

ari_1965 said...

Never mind--I missed that you'd already put cans on top of it.

Jan n Jer said...

That sounds soooo good n refreshing for a summer dish. Will have to give it a try!

SophieMae said...

DAWG! That looks so good! Now I wish I'd saved some berries. I made cobblers. They were sooooooo easy and WAY delicious! Good thing we have bookoo blackberries out there.

Now I'm gonna have to hunt down Two Fat Ladies' tomato pudding. 8-}

Mom said...

"pudding" is the common word for dessert in England and Wales. It was a little disconcerting when your grandmother said she wanted a pudding, and promptly ordered an icecream concoction with whipped cream and nuts and a cherry on top. We think of pudding as a custard dessert. We were assured that she meant "dessert--ANY dessert.

Faye said...

I only know about summer pudding from English novels or Masterpiece Theater. I would probably use cake instead of bread. This seems like something Nigella Lawson would make and eat in her bed with a big spoon.

Kila said...

Thank you for sharing! I love berry recipes!

Fun Monday died out? It did last quite a while (I was part of the original group). Perhaps it'll pick up again.

Sayre said...

Kila - I'm hoping that once summer is over, Fun Monday will resurrect. It's had a few close calls recently, so I don't hold out much hope.

Hoosier Girl said...

That looks really good! We have fresh blueberries in season here right now. I think I could do this!

J.