fantastic Max, my colleague, once asked if I had ever eaten an Italian summer pudding. He was vague about it, but swore it was one of the best desserts he’d ever had, and that it had some kind of cream in it along with the fruit. After some research, I’ve come to the conclusion that the result is a more subtle version of a British summer pudding, with contrasting textures on the inside and tart, slightly sweet berries, soft soaked brioche and creamy mascarpone to cut through.
Italian summer pudding
I used a 16cm x 16cm x 9cm pudding mold.
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour 20 minutes
Hang out overnight stay
80 g raspberries
220 g blueberries
150 g blackberries
80 g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
125 g strawberries
1 dash of marsala
A splash of lemonIf necessary
10 slices stale brioche
Place the raspberries, blueberries and blackberries in a medium to large saucepan, add the sugar and vanilla, set over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, until the fruit has broken down. Remove from heat and let cool and let stand for an hour so that the juice is drawn from the fruit.
Meanwhile, make a pudding mold by lining it with cling film, leaving some overhanging material so you can close it properly later.
Peel the strawberries and then cut them in half lengthwise. Strain the cooked berries and store the juice in a shallow dish. Add the halved strawberries to the cooled berries and stir to combine.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone until smooth, then stir in the berries and marsala. Taste now: if too sour, stir in a teaspoon more sugar (or to taste); if it’s too sweet, add a squeeze of lemon.
Dip the slices of brioche one at a time into the reserved fruit juice – it will only take a few seconds to absorb the liquid, so work quickly – then press down the sides of the lined pudding mold and place a round piece of brioche in the bottom and press all Toss slices of brioche well to secure them in the bowl; check that there are no holes in the “wall” of the brioche, and connect them with small pieces of soaked brioche if necessary.
Place the fruit and mascarpone mixture into the bowl and press down to squeeze until there is a 2cm gap between the fruit and the top of the bowl. Take a piece of brioche large enough to cover the pudding – it doesn’t need to be soaked in juice first – and press it on (it doesn’t have to be dipped in juice). Take the top of the brioche wall, which is now higher than the brioche lid, and fold it over and press down to seal the pudding completely.
Pull the overhanging cling film over the pudding so that it is completely covered, drop a small heavy-tin plate on top and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, remove the tin and plate, turn the pudding and cling film over onto a platter and remove the film to reveal the beautiful pudding underneath. Serve cold, topped with any excess fruit juice if desired.