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Summer Pudding
Recipe Submitted by David Lebovitz
As featured in Room For Dessert

I confess: This is my favorite dessert. Once you make it, it will be yours, too. It's simple to make and even easier to eat, but it must be made a day before serving to allow enough time for the bread to soak up all the luscious berry juices.

Categories: Desserts>Pastries
Yield: 8 Servings
3 pint baskets raspberries (about 6 cups)

3 pint baskets blackberries (about 6 cups)

1 pint basket red currants, stems removed

1 cup sugar

optional: 2 teaspoons kirsch

1 loaf firm-textured white bread (1 pound), such as pain de mie

1. In a nonreactive saucepan, warm the berries, red currants, and sugar. Cook until the berries break down and release their juices. Remove from heat and stir in the kirsch.

2. Remove the crusts from the bread. If the loaf is unsliced, cut it into 1/2-inch slices.

3. Line a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish or bowl with plastic wrap. Line the sides and bottom with bread, making a layer one slice thick. Trim the bread slices to fit snugly, as necessary.

4. Pour half of the berries into the bread-lined pan, and spread them over the bottom layer of bread to cover the entire surface.

5. Make another layer of bread slices over the berries, once again trimming as necessary to make a single layer one slice thick.

6. Add the remaining berries and cover with a final layer of bread.

7. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top, cover with a plate with a slightly smaller diameter than the dish, and place a moderately heavy object (such as a large can of tomatoes or olive oil) on the plate to weigh the pudding down. If using a baking dish, I add some extra berry sauce on top before covering since it won't be inverted, the top usually needs a bit more sauce for soaking.

8. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the plastic wrap on top, invert the pudding onto a plate, and lift off the dish. Remove the rest of the plastic, slice the pudding, and serve with whipped cream.

Chef's Tips:
The red currants add an unmistakable tart flavor, but they're not always easy to find; if necessary use a spoonful of red currant jelly or other berries in their place.

If you want to make it easier to make, just assemble the pudding in a similar size baking dish with tall sides (without lining it with plastic). To serve, cut into squares and serve with additional berry sauce to moisten any bread that didn't get soaked

© 1999 David Lebovitz
'Room for Dessert' Photography Courtesy of Michael Lamotte Studio, San Francisco

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