Bread and berries: classic Summer Pudding.

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WOW! Is this ridiculously decadent looking, or what?!

OK, it’s not chocolate. But at this time of year, with fresh raspberries and blueberries clustered in abundance on bushes, it’s time to bring berries into your baking repertoire.

Berries… and bread.

The classic summer pudding, a simple concoction of sweetened berries and bread, was devised by the English back in the 19th century, for people who wanted something that tasted richer than it actually was – aside from any fat in the bread, this dessert is fat-free. And it’s chilled, rather than baked – making it perfect for hot summer days.

The following recipe comes from our King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. Which – you read it here first! – is being issued in a special commemorative edition this fall, 20 years after it was first published.

What makes this new edition special? It’s in its ORIGINAL 3-ring binder format, for those of you who’ve always coveted this easy-to-use style of cookbook.

Plus, for Baker’s Catalogue customers only, we’ve added a 20-page, full-color booklet of some of our favorite recipes developed over the past 20 years, since the publication of the original book.

You’ll be able to pre-order this classic book online beginning next week.

OK, back to the kitchen. Let’s make Summer Pudding.

First, choose a 1 1/2-quart bowl. I chose one of our Wisconsin bowls – 7” diameter, 3 3/4” tall.

Start with about 6 to 8 slices of nice, firm white bread, about 1/2” thick. My favorite is King Arthur’s Classic White Bread, pictured here.

Cut the crusts off; a pair of scissors allows you to trim precisely, taking just the brown part, and leaving the white.

Can you leave the crusts on? Sure. They won’t soften as much and the pudding may have tough spots; up to you.

Next, you’re going to line your bowl with bread.

I used a big biscuit cutter to cut a circle for the bottom of the bowl.

Like this.

Set aside 1 slice to use as a lid. Use the other slices to cover as much of the inside of the bowl as possible, trimming the top so it’s flush.

Good enough. Don’t recycle the trimmings yet – you may need them for the top.

On to the filling.

Combine 2 pounds fresh or frozen unsweetened berries (about 6 1/2 to 7 cups) with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Leave berries whole or, in the case of large strawberries, cut them in pieces. I’m using a combination of frozen raspberries and blueberries here, a 1-pound bag of each.

Heat the berries with the sugar over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the juice of the berries starts to flow.

Pour the fruit mixture into the bread-lined bowl.

It should come to within about 1/2” of the top.

Use the reserved slice of bread, and any trimmings, to cover the berries.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Place a small plate, one that’ll just fit inside the bowl rim, on top of the plastic wrap.

Weigh it down with something heavy (a can of beans, a jar filled with water) to force the juices up into the top layer of bread. Place in a pan to catch any potential spills, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.

The juices will seep into the bread, turning it a lovely color, and the fruit will set somewhat.

Just before serving, remove the plastic wrap, and turn the bowl over onto a serving plate.

Carefully remove the bowl.

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Cut out wedges to serve.

Yes, it’ll be messy – and delicious. Top with whipped cream, or yogurt sweetened with a bit of maple syrup or brown sugar.

And there you have it – bread, berries, and a classic English summer pudding.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Summer Pudding.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Kathleen

    This looks wonderful. I make a whole wheat cinnamon applesauce bread that I think would work well with this to give it a deeper flavor. And I love the frozen fruit option!

    Reply
  2. Margaret Woodside

    I had this at my favorite fancy restaurant last week. It was so good that I decided to make it for a party…you most be reading my mind! Party on with summer pudding, I say.

    Reply
  3. Jean Allen

    Why go to all that fuss cutting and fitting the bread slices? Seems to me your could cube the bread and stir it into the fruit mixture, then spoon it out to serve. Less messy that way.

    Yes, you could take that route, if you prefer. Frank @ KAF.

    Jean, just wanted to show the classic English Summer Pudding recipe; and it does look nice when you cut into that round circle and see the fruit come out like a lava flow. One of those “oooh-ahhh” moments. You can certainly Americanize it – as we’ve done over the years to so many British traditions! PJH

    Reply
  4. Lynette Pruett

    Oh, my, this looks wonderful! I am currently looking for delicious, nutritous recipes that are soft and easy to eat for a family member who has unique dietary requirements. This more than fits the bill–it also looks appetizing! Do you think a soft whole-wheat bread would work as well? Maybe KA’s whole-wheat sandwich bread???

    Absolutely! That is the beauty of baking at home, use what ever type of bread you prefer. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  5. Wei Wei

    Wow. I’m speechless. The colour of the pudding after it’s been inverted is just… Wow. I can’t imagine now amazing this must taste In the summer.

    Wei Wei

    Reply
  6. Denise Menigoz

    PJ

    You are a real HOOT…..love your comments, I just read all these summer fruit recipes and am going to make the blueberry bread pudding for supper….on such a hot day here is Wisconsin, it is just the ticket and the blueberries are abundant and very inexpensive….we will definitely be having dessert tonight.

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips & recipes.

    Deni

    Reply
  7. Ed

    I love summer pudding, and I have used your classic white bread, or brioche for an even more decadent pudding.

    My family has made summer pudding for years, but includes another layer of bread, in the middle, so it is bread, berries, bread, berries, bread, and some left over berry juices on top. Our pudding tends to soak completely, so that the entire pudding is brilliant cherry pink.

    There is no lava flow of berries, instead, there is wonderful nuggets of fruit caught between pieces of tender bread. Topped with sweetened whipped cream, or in a pool of creme anglais this is a winner.

    Reply
  8. CatieB

    @JeanAllen,

    I have made these puddings when experimenting for teaching a class. I did as you suggest here, to see what the result would be. When taking the cubes and mixing them with the juicy berries, of course, the cubes absorb the juice, and what you will have are completely sopped cubes that tended to fall apart into crumbs when spooned out. When the bread surrounding the berries method was used, the pressure created a firmer soaked bread that allowed it to retain its shape and be cut. It not only made a better presentation, but you could actually get a “bite” of juiced , flavorful bread. The other, in crumbs, just melted away (mush) on the tongue and did not offer textural differences, or flavorful bread cubes or bites.

    One exception in making bread puddings in either form was to use an authentic semolina bread, very fine crumb, and very firm bread. Even toasting the bread cubes helps, or allowing them to dry. But this will affect the moisture of the final pudding, resulting in less juiciness.

    I loved mine with softened ice cream.. but fresh berries, or fruit in any dessert is a fave of mine.
    KAF
    I wondered how it would hold up with your gluten free bread mix bread?

    Reply
  9. Ant Nance

    Okay, I’ll confess – I’m a carbivor! And I love fresh fruit. So this sounds like a dessert taylor-made for me and my family. I’m just wondering how a sweet bread, like Hawaiian bread, would work in this recipe. I don’t believe it’s as firm a bread as what is called for – would this produce the same results or would we have a berry mush? Fork or spoon?
    I’m thinkin’ spoon Nance, but in a good way. Keep an eye on the sweetness too, maybe serve with unsweetened whipped cream. Have fun, let us know how it goes. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J. - BRAZIL

    I´d loved the recipe and the way you done it!
    But unfortunately we don´t have those fresh fruits easily here in my region. Is there any kind of substitutive specially any tropical fruit?
    I wanna try this as soon as i can!!!
    Thanks!
    You can use any juicy fruit in this recipe. Mangos and or acai berries would be very nice. JMD@KAF

    Reply
  11. Judy

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I made it last night, can’t wait to eat it.

    I was going to use the loaf that I made on Friday evening, but it was so good that we ate half the loaf. I made another loaf in the bread machine, which I haven’t done in quite awhile. How boring that loaf looked, with the hole at the bottom!!!

    My mixture didn’t come all the way to the top on my bowl. Guess it was too big.

    Thanks again,

    Judy

    Reply
  12. Margaret Woodside

    I finally made this dessert and it was easy and fabulously delicious! I made it for a party and it was enjoyed by all. On my permanent summer list. Thanks once again.

    Reply
  13. Lina

    How would this translate to individual summer puddings? Maybe cut out small rounds of bread and layer them with the berries in little ramekins? Sounds delish!

    This should work. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  14. LinaBrooks

    Okay! Wow that was good! How long does it keep in the fridge, though? We devoured it the first time I made it, but if I were to make a lot for a large gathering and it wasn’t all consumed, how long would it be okay to store? I am concerned about fermenting, etc. Thanks for the help!
    Hi there,
    The pudding should be fine in the fridge for at least another 24 hours. It does tend to sog up and fall apart after too much longer. I’m sure guests could be persuaded to have a second helping or take some home, don’t you think? ~ MaryJane

    Reply

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