Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer bread pudding hits the spot when it's too hot to cook

We’re getting into the dog days of summer. I don’t know why we have to blame all this heat and discomfort on a critter from the canine family, but, no matter, it’s time to head for the beach. Or the AC. And just in time, I’ve been receiving recipes lately for something called “summer” bread pudding, that you can make without heating up the house. In fact, it’s made with layers of bread and berries that you cover and weight down, then keep overnight in the refrigerator, while the flavors meld. After a day or so it’s ready to serve, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Today’s recipe is from one of my very favorite cookbooks, Caprial Cooks for Friends, by Caprial Pence, the award-winning chef and owner of Caprial’s Bistro in Portland, Oregon. Her recipes make for wonderful entertaining, and this one’s a good example. You don’t have to heat up the kitchen to make this summer treat, but it does take a bit of planning ahead so it will be ready for serving time.

In the next few blog articles, we’ll post some other recipes for “summer” bread pudding, but here’s the first installment.


3 cups raspberries, rinsed
1-1/2 cups blackberries, rinsed
1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
16 slices sweet egg bread, such as challah, or soft white bread
1 cup heavy whipping cream, as an accompaniment

In large saucepan over high heat, combine berries, sugar, liqueur, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and cook just until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes.
Lightly grease eight 8-ounce ramekins. Using ramekin as a guide, trim each slice of bread into a circle, disgarding crusts. Using large slotted spoon, place a spoonful of cooled berry mixture in each ramekin, then top with a circle of bread. Divide remaining berry mixture among ramekins. Top each with another circle of bread. Divide remaining berry mixture among ramekins. Top with another circle of bread. Pour remaining juice over each of the puddings to soak. Place ramekins on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and top with second baking sheet. Place 2 or 3 heavy cans on top to add weight. Refrigerate for 24 hours, or up to 2 days.
To serve, run knife around sides of ramekins, and turn each one over onto a place or pasta bowl to release the pudding. Top with dollop of whipped cream. Serves 8.
(Recipe from Caprial Cooks for Friends by Caprial Pence)

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