Summer Pudding II, Part B: Summer Pudding


Previously on Food in Mind: a bold trap was laid for billions of dry yeast cells in hibernation, a feast of flour and honey. They took the bait: eating, shitting, and reproducing in a cesspool orgy of activity. Suddenly they were swept up in a massive goop of flour and water, only to be tossed into a fiery oven where every single yeast cell suffered the terrible, terrible fate of being cooked alive mere hours after being awoken from their slumber.

Oh yeah, some challah bread was made too. Do not fret! Those yeast cells did not die in vain. We will honor their sacrifice by using the bread (laden with their tiny cooked bodies) to make a refreshing summer dessert known in the British isles as Summer Berry Pudding.

This pudding is traditionally made with raspberries, strawberries, and red and black currants. Unfortunately, red and black currants are not readily available where I live, and raspberries and strawberries are not yet on sale. This blog is devoted to a variation on summer pudding, preserving the essence of the idea while using seasonal fruits that are on sale.

Again, please read through the entire recipe to make sure that you have all the ingredients and equipment necessary to create the pudding. Some Macguyver action may be required on your part in order to make the pudding happen.

NOTE: the pictures for this blog are taken from two separate iterations of the dessert. I used the same process but with different vessels.

Ingredients

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the British invented puddings to compensate for the fact that their bad teeth could not handle real food.

Total time: 30 minutes prep + 5-12 hours of waiting

1 loaf slightly staled white bread (brioche/challah is a good choice)
1 cup diced fresh mangoes
1 cup diced fresh pineapples
1 cup diced fresh supremed* navel oranges**
1/4 cup castor’s or baker’s sugar***
1/4 cup water****

*To “supreme” a citrus fruit is a method of cutting out certain sections of the fruit. More detailed instructions will be included below.
**These fruits are what I used because I felt they pair well together. Feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand. Ripe peaches can stand in for mangoes, or you may wish to use an assortment of melons instead. If any of the fruits turn out to be not quite ripe, macerate them in a tablespoon or two of sugar beforehand. Also I will include fruit suggestions for making a budget pudding below. Substitute and swap fruits as you see fit.
***This is also known as superfine sugar. Its fineness is between that of granulated sugar and superfine x10 sugar (aka powdered sugar). It is a bit more pricey than granulated sugar, so feel free to use granulated sugar if you do not feel inclined to do some extra shopping.
****An “adult” version of this pudding is possible if you replace the water with some type of spirit, such as a brandy or a white wine. Yet another alternative is to skip the water and sugar altogether, and reduce some type of canned fruit juice (I personally tried guava nectar in one of the puddings for an added “tropical” kick) down to about 1/3 of a cup).

Budget/lazy alternative for fruits:

Canned peaches
Canned pineapple (preferably diced)
Canned mandarin oranges

I recommend buying “pure” forms of these canned fruits as opposed to a medley such as a fruit salad. Furthermore, it is better to buy canned fruits as preserved in juices rather than syrup if at all possible. Certain fruits such as mandarin oranges may only be found preserved in syrup. If that is the case, choose to purchase fruit that is preserved in the lightest syrup possible. Separate the juices from the fruit before proceeding, but keep both the juice and the fruit.

Assembly

There is very little cooking involved for this recipe but a fair amount of preparation. First you will want to peel and dice your fruits. I do not have any photographs of how to peel and dice pineapples and mangoes. I assume you know how to dissemble these fruits. In any case, here is a quick run-down:

For mangoes, you may find it useful to not peel the fruit at all, but cut slabs of flesh from the fruit (two large slabs from each side of the mango and two thin strips from the narrow sides of the pit). Then, using your knife, slice horizontally and vertically through these slabs (being careful not to cut through the skin!) to cube the mango to the desired size, much like how you would for an avocado. Finally, use a spoon to scrape the cubes of mango into a bowl.

For pineapples, there is a fast way and a slower way to peel the fruit. Both ways begin with using a knife to cut off both the top and bottom ends of the fruit, giving you to flat ends to rest the fruit on. Then, cut away the skin from top to bottom using your knife whilst following the contour of the fruit. For the fast way, cut deep enough to peel away both the skin and the “eyes” on the sides of the fruit. For the slow way, cut only deep enough to get rid of the skin, but keep the eyes. Then, use your knife to make “v” shape cuts to get rid of the eyes two or three at a time, following the spiral pattern that the eyes make. You will end up with a peeled pineapple with a spiral groove pattern all around the fruit.

Checkpoint! Your ADD timer has been reset by this picture.

Finally, supreme your oranges. To “supreme” a citrus fruit is to cut out all the juicy sections of the fruit, leaving the rind and the membranes behind. Simply take a citrus fruit and cut off both the top and the bottom, making sure to cut deeply enough to reveal a cross section of the fruit itself. Then, resting the fruit on the cutting board, cut away the rind while following the contour of the fruit. Again, you should cut deep enough to reveal the flesh of the fruit itself. The last step is to take the skinned fruit in your hand and make v-shaped cuts in between the membranes to dislodge only the juicy sections of the fruit. You may wish to cut these sections into halves or thirds so they conform to the sizes of the other diced fruits.

This is a picture of sucrose crystals melting in dihydrogen monoxide.

Now we are ready to cook! Measure out and dump both sugar and water/wine into a pot or pan large enough to hold all of your fruits. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add all of the fruit, and cook for about 3-5 minutes just to warm the fruit a bit. Do not overcook your fruits! You want to preserve the fresh fruit flavors.

If you are using canned fruits: pour all of the juices from the cans into a pot/pan large enough to accommodate all of your fruits and reduce through boiling to approximately half a cup. Taste the juice. If it is too tart, add one or two tablespoons of additional sugar. Then place all of the fruit into this mix, cook for 3-5 minutes, and proceed as normal.

A great opportunity to trade your scurvy for diabetes

…And that concludes the cooking portion for this blog! Separate the fruit from the juices. Set both aside. Now comes the tricky part.

You will need to find and prepare a vessel for your pudding. This vessel should be deep enough to hold the fruit and the shell of bread that will encapsulate your fruit. You will also need some kind of lid or flat object that will cover the entirety of the pudding, yet fit snugly inside the vessel in a way that you can place a weight on top of the lid to press down on your finished pudding. My solution was to measure and cut out a cardboard shape that fits the size required, then cover this cardboard shape with aluminum foil.

Cover the inside of your pudding vessel with plastic wrap. This will make turning the pudding onto a plate easy. Slice your loaf of bread into approximately 1/2 inch thick slices. Cut the crusts off, leaving only the white centers. Dip the bread pieces into the fruit juice for a few seconds to soak, then strategically layer them inside your vessel to create a bowl shape. Place most of your fruit (leaving half a cup or so) into the shell to fill it.

What to do with the crusts? Well, you can eat them, or possibly dry and toast them to make semi-sweet bread crumbs for coating fried dessert items.

Fully cover the fruit with your final layer of bread. You should still have about half a cup of fruit left, and possibly a bit of juice left. Set these aside for now. Cover the pudding with your lid contraption, then place some kind of weight on top of the entire pudding, such as canned food, a gallon of milk, or jars filled with water. Place the entire contraption into the refrigerator to chill for at least 5-6 hours (overnight preferred).

boobies

An aluminum eclipse to blot out the pudding. Merlin would be impressed with my wizardry.

When you are reading to serve the pudding, take it out of the refrigerator. Remove the lid to uncover the pudding. Place a plate face-down on top of your pudding vessel and flip your pudding over on top of the plate. The plastic wrap should make removing the pudding from the vessel easy. Peel off the plastic pudding, and top the pudding with the rest of your fruit/juice. The reserve juice is also great for shoring up any bits of bread that are not yet fully drenched.

Serve cold, possibly with whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a glass of wine.

The Result

I know this looks like Pac-Man lying on his side vomiting fruit, but it does taste good. HAVE FAITH.

4.7 / 5 It has been an epic saga, a strange tale of the marriage of bread to fresh fruit. Usually fruit is eaten with bread in the form of preserves; we most often imagine these foods as breakfast or snack items, not desserts. Even then, the sharp tartness of the fruit is often dulled by the application of some type of dairy or creme product so that it does not taste so harsh against the mildness of the bread. But when the bread itself is drenched in fruit juice, it is transformed into something tart and juicy itself, becoming a fitting partner for the refreshing flavor of fresh fruit.

Conclusion

It is now 5 AM and I’m finally almost done writing up the second part of the Summer Pudding blogs! I must admit that I am personally not a big fan of soggy foods. The very reason why I attempted this dessert at all was because I was intrigued by the idea of how bread drenched in fruit juice (of all things) could possibly taste good, and I have a bit of a fetish for trying foods that do not seem appealing at first sight. I am glad I tried summer pudding. This dessert is definitely a keeper in any cook’s repertoire, being flexible enough to accommodate a variety of fruits. If the prospect of baking your own bread to make the pudding is too daunting, you should at least try to make the pudding with store-bought bread. You’ll be glad you did (probably).

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