Berry puddings such as this one hail back to Merry Olde England and Ireland, where berries grow as prolifically as they do here. Berries, fruits and nuts are grown over much of Oregon, and even though their seasons don’t always coincide, berries freeze well for use year round so there’s always a variety from which to choose.
The utter simplicity and ease of preparation make this is a welcome dessert in the heat of the summer because there is very little cooking required – just simmering the berries and sugar until they give up their juices. The vibrant colors alone make this a showstopper. You could dress it up with a fancy mold, artfully garnish with whipped cream and maybe some roasted, chopped hazelnuts. Yum!
Oregon Berry Pudding
Adapted from a Cooks Illustrated recipe
- 2 pints fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled, and sliced
- 1 pint fresh raspberries
- ½ pint fresh blueberries
- ½ pint fresh blackberries
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoons Clear Creek Distillery Blackberry Liqueur (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓ envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 grams)
- 8 slices stale potato bread or challah, crusts removed*
* Let bread sit out uncovered overnight or dry in a 200º F oven for about 1½ hours.
You can find fresh challah at Cascade Bakery in Salem, or Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant in Albany makes it daily.
- Mix berries and sugar in a non-reactive sauce pan over medium heat, stirring often until berries release their juice and sugar is melted.
- Remove from heat, stir in liqueur and lemon juice.
- Sprinkle gelatin over berries, stir thoroughly and cool to room temperature.
- Line a loaf pan with a long sheet of plastic wrap. (Leave sheet long enough to cover the loaf pan when full.)
- Create a layer of the fruit in the bottom of the pan using a slotted spoon.
- Soak a slice of bread in the juice and lay over first layer of fruit, continuing with additional slices, trimming them if needed.
- Add another layer of fruit over bread slices.
- Continue layering until all you have is juice.
- Pour any remaining juice over all and cover tightly with the plastic.
- Cover top of pudding with bottom of another loaf pan, weigh down with a large can and refrigerate overnight or until fully chilled.
To unmold: Remove weight and extra loaf pan, unfold top of plastic wrap, place an inverted serving platter over the loaf pan and, with all your confidence, invert.
- Remove pan, plastic wrap and clean up any unnecessary drippings on platter.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream flavored with Clear Creek Distillery Kirschwasser (optional).
Note: I vacillate between liqueur and brandies, depending on my mood. It’s always Clear Creek’s Blackberry Liqueur, Kirschwasser or Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities
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