Cold Summer Pudding

summer puddingI love deserts that are simple to make but look wonderful and are layered with delightful surprises; ice cream bombs, trifles, parfaits, etc.  When I heard  Linda Wertheimer interview cookbook author Sophie Grigson on WBUR link here  there was much discussion about the delights of English Summer Pudding.  This was my kind of dessert and all that is needed to make it is bread, summer berries, and a bit of sugar.
I ran out and bought a big loaf of farmhouse style bread and, well, if you know me or read my blog you will know there is never a shortage of fruit around here.  Instead of making one big pudding, I decided to make little ones in custard cups.  I added a bit of Cointreau and a layer of jam to the basic recipe but these are optional. The tiny puddings were so easy and delicious and light that this recipe will become a summer favorite in my house.

To make Summer Pudding:
Chop up about a pound of  berries-strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. (I used a quart of fall strawberries and a handful of black raspberries and red currants from my garden.
Put all the fruit and a  1/3 cup sugar and a splash of Cointreau in a big skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until the juices run freely and the fruit begins to soften.  Strain some of the juice off into a shallow bowl. Let cool slightly.
Cut 5 rounds of bread (about 1 inch thick) to fit tightly in the bottom each of the custard cups and another 5 rounds to fit the bottom.
Dip the top round in the fruit juice and place in the custard cup juice side down.
Spread a layer of raspberry jam on the bread and then spoon in about a heaping tablespoon of cooked fruit.
Dip the bottom layer in fruit juice and place in the cup juice side up this time.
Cover with plastic wrap and weight down with a can or heavy jar.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.
To unmold, run a knife gently around the edge of the pudding.  Invert onto a plate or shallow bowl and lift the custard cup.
Serve with whipped cream and fresh sliced berries or just plain.

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