Published July 1, 1999.
The ideal summer pudding, a simple marriage of berries and bread, is all in the details.
In a typical summer pudding, berries fill a mold or bowl of some sort that has been neatly lined with crustless bread. Trimming the bread to fit the mold and then lining the bowl with it is a fussy job. We thought there must be an easier way to make this refreshing dessert. We also had some questions about the best way to prepare the berries and the best kind of bread to use.
If any food speaks of summer, summer pudding does. Ripe, fragrant, lightly sweetened berries are gently cooked to coax out their juices, which then soak and soften slices of bread to make them meld with the fruit.
Instead of lining the mold with bread and then filling it with berries, we opted to layer the bread and berries together in a loaf pan; the berries on the outside are like brilliant jewels, while the layers of bread on the inside almost melt into the fruit. Combine the berries with sugar and lemon juice, gently cooked for just 5 minutes. Use day-old potato bread; its even, tight-crumbed, tender texture and light sweetness is a perfect match for the berries (fresh bread becomes too gummy in the pudding). Be sure to weight the pudding so it will come together and hold its shape, and refrigerate at least 8 and up to 24 hours.list of recipes