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October 22nd, 2017

The Kosher Gourmet

You won't be able to guess the unlikely fruit making this summer pudding the berry best

Ellie Krieger

By Ellie Krieger The Washington Post

Published June 14, 2017

You won't be able to guess the unlikely fruit making this summer pudding the berry best

  Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

When berry season comes around, I practically hear trumpets announcing the fruit's arrival at the local market. I am reliably ready to pounce - eager to pile the plump beauties onto my yogurt bowls, work them into salads, blend them into smoothies and bake them into pies and muffins.


When I first encountered this classic U.K. dessert - what Britons call a "pudding" - I was enthralled. It is stunning, with a cascade of berries mingling with layers of bread soaked and pressed in the fruit's brilliantly hued juices. The dish has the quality of an elegantly plated, berry-soaked sponge cake, but besides the fruit, it is made with little more than humble slices of bread. The usual recipe involves heaps of sugar though, so I decided to take a stab at a better-for-you version and was thrilled with the result.


The key twist is to take advantage of the inherent sweetness of ripe bananas, which are not a typical summer pudding component. Stirring the mashed banana into the juice that is rendered from heating the berries adds enough sweetness that only a little honey is needed to round it out, plus you get the added layer of banana flavor that pairs so well with strawberries and blueberries.


I also used whole-grain bread instead of white, a change that gives the dessert a somewhat healthier sensibility without sacrificing an essential tender, melt-in-your mouth quality. This is a treat that is truly worthy of its very special star ingredient.


SUMMER BERRY-BANANA PUDDINGS

SERVINGS: 6

You'll need six 1-cup ramekins.

MAKE AHEAD: The puddings need to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours, and up to 1 day in advance.

Ingredients

12 slices soft whole-wheat bread, crusts removed (6 ounces total)

2 cups sliced strawberries, plus more for optional garnish

2 cups blueberries, plus more for optional garnish

2 cups raspberries

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons honey

2 very ripe medium bananas

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps

Cut a round from each piece of bread that will just fit into your 1-cup ramekins. (Save the remaining scraps of bread for another use, such as bread crumbs.)

Combine the berries, water and honey in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the berries break down. While the berry mixture is still hot, mash the banana with a fork until smooth, then stir it into the berry mixture, along with the vanilla extract.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the berry-banana mixture in each ramekin. Add one round of bread to each, then divide the remaining berry-banana mixture among the ramekins and top each with another round of bread. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (to catch any overflowing juices). Loosely cover each one with plastic wrap, then place a 15-ounce weight, such as a can of beans, on top of each one to compress the pudding. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, and up to 1 day.

To serve, remove the plastic wrap. Run a knife along the sides of the pudding, then invert each one into a dessert glass or onto a plate. Garnish with the fresh berries, if using.

Nutrition | Per serving: 230 calories, 5 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 8 g dietary fiber, 26 g sugar

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