Tag Archives: cherries

Easy English Summer Pudding

Three factors went into the creation of this super easy English Summer Pudding.

  1. I was a greedy cherry monster. I saw fresh cherries for $.99/lb at my local grocery, and I went a little nuts. There is no way I could go through 7 pounds before they turned, so half went into the freezer, a bunch went into my morning oats, and I had to come up with a way to use up the rest.
  2. I wanted to turn my leftover white bread into something yummy. Once a year–and only once–I buy a loaf of white bread. It is just a necessity when making the first tomato sandwiches of the season. As a general rule, I am not an advocate for white bread…not by a long shot…but I am also not an advocate for throwing away food if it can be used. So again, I had to find a way to use it up.
  3. My husband loves fruity desserts. While I will choose all things chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, etc., he is a fan of lemon, lime, berries and, lucky day, cherries! And he’s been reallllly patient with my computer time lately, and he didn’t even balk when I bought a package of mustache-shaped silly bandz. :D He’s a good egg, that one.

So my wheels got to turnin’, and I put together the simplest of English Summer Puddings.

This classic English dessert is pretty simple. It’s basically a molded dessert made by lining a bowl with the bread of your choice, preferable white (I’ve seen recipes call for brioche), then filled with sugared fruit that has been cooked down until the liquid turns into a bit of a sweet syrup. By the time it’s unmolded, the bread soaks up the juice and transforms into a sweet, jewel-toned pudding that opens to reveal a treasure of berries inside. (Think lava cake, but with berries.)

I don’t believe this is a proper summer pudding, as those are made with raspberries (correct me if I’m wrong on that…) but I had cherries, and it worked out just fine. I also only made small portions in individual ramekins rather than the traditional bowl-shaped pudding. We just didn’t need quite that many servings.

The method? Sooooo easy… (it took exactly 20 minutes to prepare.)

  • I pitted enough cherries that, when cooked down a little, would fill my two ramekins. 2 cups, maybe?
  • I heated the cherries in a medium saucepan (keeping a small handful aside), along with about a cup of water, a couple tablespoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla.
  • While the cherries cooked, I lined 2 ramekins with plastic wrap, then used a wine glass to cut a round piece of bread for the bottom of each. I then cut pieces of bread, no crusts, and lined the edges of the ramekins.
  • Once the cherries were nice and soft and the liquid reduced a bit (about ten minutes), I removed them from the heat and strained them. I spooned a little of the cherry-vanilla juice over the bread, mixed my cooked cherries with my reserved uncooked ones (for texture), and spooned them into the ramekins.
  • Finally, I cut a piece of bread big enough to cover the top of each ramekin, covered it with plastic wrap, and set a glass on each one to provide weight and help the juices soak into the bread. Both went into the fridge overnight, only to be rediscovered the next day, transformed from mere white bread and spare fruit into a fragrant pink delight!

Healthy? I don’t know how to feel about that. White bread sure isn’t healthy, but cherries are pretty darned good for you. Given the low fat content, limited ingredients and the fact that I cut the sugar way down, I feel pretty OK about this one. It is dessert, after all, and it could have been worse, right?

Besides, sometimes the ‘healthiest’ thing you can do is spoil your husband a little with a dessert designed just for him. ;)

Full Time Mama

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Have you ever made an English Summer Pudding?

What are your thoughts on white bread? Do you ever buy it? Are there certain occasions when only white bread will do?

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Filed under Recipes & Food

Everyday Eats

Squash blossoms, stuffed, and baked into the middle of a muffin?

Yup. I’m constantly impressed by the recipes I find while blogreading. There are so many talented, passionate and wildly creative people out there, and the inspiration is enough to make me feel like there aren’t enough days in a lifetime to sample all the wonderful creations that are currently on my to-make list.

I, on the other hand, am not so much of a recipe person. Yes, I spent years in the bakery business, and yes, I used lots of recipes. And occasionally, you’ll even find that I post recipes right here on my blog. After all, really good ones are fun to share. But, in the name of being fully honest and forthcoming with my readers, I rarely cook with a recipe. I’ve said it before, but I often find myself wondering if I should bother posting my simple fare. More often than not, I go to the grocery store with the best of intentions and visions of recipe greatness dancing in my head, only to have my efforts thwarted by such things as new writing projects, diaper laundry and a baby that’s been teething non-stop for almost 5 months. Many of the ingredients that were destined for greatness wind up in the compost bin, or we end up eating a random assembly of “whatever” to avoid such a wasteful situation.

Sometimes I feel like a foodie failure because my everyday meals are not so elaborate, and really don’t require that much skill to prepare. I mean, who would want to read a blog about my food, right? Other times, I feel like pretty much of a foodie rock star because my meals and snacks are fresh, whole, unprocessed and uncluttered, allowing the ingredients to shine without a lot of fuss. Which feeling is more accurate? I think I know the answer, but I’ll let you form your own opinion. ;)

So, I thought I’d share a few recent eats that seem to speak the most about where I am in my culinary life right now. I’m sure that someday, when babies are grown and my work schedule settles down, when my kitchen is more than a few square feet and I actually own a dishwasher, I’ll return to the world of ingredients lists and precise instructions, but for now, here’s me…on a plate:

My favorite breakfast? Oats. I soak them overnight in almond milk, then embellish in the morning with whatever is on hand and ripe. My favorite? Cherries, almonds and Artisana Cacao Bliss (which is aptly named, because it is pure heaven on Earth, and don’t let anybody tell you different.) Lately, I’ve also been a little obsessed with adding precooked brown rice and cardamom to my oats to make it taste like my favorite rice pudding.

A summer classic: the tomato sandwich. Even on the finest menus in the world, it’s hard to beat the taste of a fresh tomato from your backyard garden, 2 slices of grilled bread, a few basil leaves, sea salt and a smear of mayo.

Sometimes, lunch is just a hodge-podge of whatever happens to be really ripe and ready. It’s not the most cohesive thing, but every time I do this is one time I am not driving through ordering my lunch from someone wearing a visor.

See…there’s a shake of oregano on the tomatoes. That shows a little effort, right? :neutral: Oh, and that Greek Gods yogurt is vanilla, cinnamon and orange flavor…good for banana dippin’!

And sometimes, to avoid total meltdown, I do resort to prepackaged foods, but I fully hawk-eye the ingredients list first. This mandarin orange salmon passed the test…

Not perfect, but not a bad lunch for one that was prepared during my boy’s 30-minute nap, during which I also had to shower and clean my entire house! (Guess how much of that actually got accomplished?)

So, there’s a little snapshot of what’s on my plate on any given day. For now, the more elaborate recipes will have to wait until Sunday afternoon, or the occasional day where the planets align and I have time to lose myself in the kitchen. I have a feeling they’ll still be there, waiting patiently for me, when I return.

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What’s on your everyday plate?

If you have a blog, do you blog about everything, including your day-to-day meals, or do you highlight the best of the best?

Don’t forget, there are still a few days left to enter my CSN giveaway! I know there’s a new kitchen appliance or two you’ve been eyeing, so what are you waiting for? ;)

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Filed under Recipes & Food, The Everyday