English Summer Berry Pudding

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh strawberries, diced

1 pound fresh blueberries

1 pound fresh raspberries

1 pound fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Chambord

1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

1 loaf brioche (about 1 pound), sliced about 1/3-inch thick

Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving

In a large saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the strawberries, blueberries, half of the raspberries, half of the blackberries, sugar, Chambord, vanilla bean and seeds, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the fruit is soft and almost pureed. Stir in the remaining raspberries and blackberries and simmer for 2 minutes more.  Allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.  Remove the vanilla bean.

These directions are for making individual puddings using ramekins of pudding (as I did), but you can also make one large pudding in a baking dish (two sizes that work are 10X7X3 and 7-8 inch diameter round pans.) 

Using a round cutter or a glass as a guide, cut out circles of brioche that will fit snugly into the ramekins. Spoon a thin layer of the berry sauce into the bottom of the ramekins and press a round of brioche on top of the sauce.  Top with another generous layer of the berries and another round of brioche.  Continue to layer the berries and brioche until you reach the top of the ramekin, ending with a layer of berry sauce.

Tightly wrap the ramekins with plastic wrap, so that the pudding is "weighted down."  Top the plastic wrap with a small plate or a can to further weight the pudding and then place the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Before serving, run a knife around the outside of the pudding and unmold it onto a serving plate.  Top the puddings with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries.

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