A Berry Delicious Pudding

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July 23rd, 2010

Now that it’s officially summer, everyone wants to spend as much time as possible outdoors, enjoying the weather.  With Labor Day right around the corner, there is no better time to make a quick, impressive and satisfying dessert for your alfresco gatherings.

This berry pudding not only takes advantage of seasonal, sweet summer berries, but is also served cold, making it refreshing and filling.  Adding the sweetness of pure Canadian maple syrup is a perfect addition to the berries and toast.  The consistency of the maple syrup will soak nicely into the bread while sweetening the berries as needed.

Preparing this dessert is quick and easy, so nix the always melting ice cream cake and heavy desserts this summer and stick with a fresh, delicious berry pudding.

Summer Berry Pudding

berry_puddinIf you’ve never prepared a berry pudding don’t fret. It’s really a very simple dessert and will likely take you longer to read the recipe than to prepare it. If you’re counting calories, you can choose to make this recipe with potato bread, available from most bakeries and specialty markets. The pudding takes no time to assemble, but does require several hours in the refrigerator, so best to make it a day ahead.

Finally, don’t skimp on the pure maple syrup. Pancake syrup, which contains high fructose corn syrup, is no substitution!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

4 cups mixed berries, rinsed (hull and slice strawberries)

1/4 to 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 Tablespoon lemon juice or to taste

6-8 slices stale bread such as challah or potato bread, crusts removed

In a medium size, non-reactive sauce-pot, place berries and Maple Syrup over medium heat. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally and until berries begin to release their juices and thicken slightly, about ten minutes. Turn off heat, add lemon juice, let cool to room temperature.

Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting 3″ hang over on all sides. Press plastic wrap into pan, leaving no air space.

Trim bread slices to fit pan, place a single layer in pan bottom. Using a slotted spoon, place generous single layer of fruit over first layer of bread.

Dip second layer of bread slices into pot with berries for half a minute per side to soak up excess fruit juices. Place over berry layer. Repeat with two more layers of fruit and bread. Finish with a layer of bread, top with remaining juices. Fill to just above rim of pan.

Fold over excess plastic wrap and over loosely with additional plastic wrap as needed. Place loaf pan on a rimmed cookie sheet to catch any overflowing juices. Cover with a second cookie sheet and place several heavy cans on top to press and weigh down pudding. This allows berries to release all their juices into the bread and forces pudding to hold it’s shape nicely. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

To unmold, remove top layer of plastic wrap, invert onto serving platter. Lift off loaf pan and peel off plastic wrap lining.

Serve one slice per person. Optional: Garnish with a dollop of real whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint. Drizzle a teaspoon or so of pure maple syrup over the whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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