Monthly Archives: July 2012

English Summer Pudding

As mentioned in the previous post, raspberries are massively popular in Great Britain. Knowing that, it should not come as too much of a surprise that raspberries feature prominently in this classic English summertime dessert. And while it may sound terribly quaint and British to call a dessert like this “pudding” (and the British do now call virtually any dessert “pudding”), my 1967 Webster’s dictionary still identifies pudding as being the cereal-based soft food that the English still think it is.

This is a perfect dessert for celebrating the abundance of summer fruit–and it’s much easier than you might guess from the number of notes following the recipe. It’s just that this dish has many possible permutations, depending on what is ripe and available, so a few comments were necessary. I have made this dish with a variety of berries (and drupelets), but have always included raspberries. Enjoy.

English Summer Pudding

Approx. 1-3/4 to 2 lbs. berries (see notes)
1/2 to 1 cup sugar (see notes)
8–10 slices white bread, crusts removed
whipped cream, crème fraîche, thick cream, or Devonshire cream Continue reading

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Raspberries

I can remember when, as a child at summer camp in northern Wisconsin, I made the astonishing discovery that there were plants throughout the forests with fruit on them. Even though my family was keen on buying from local farmers, you had to drive to the farm, and you had to pay someone for the fruit (which was, by the way, already picked—not much charm in that for a child). But there I was, surrounded by fruit just waiting to be plucked from a gracefully arching branch. I could eat it any time I wanted—and it was free. This made me almost giddy with delight. While there were a few incredibly sweet wild blueberries, the most abundant fruit was raspberries.

Raspberries may not be what you think. Of course, the appearance of the word “berry” in the name might seem like justification for believing that these are, in fact, berries, but they’re not. They’re drupes–stone fruits, like cherries, peaches, and plums. Or, to be more precise, little drupelets, because each tiny globe in the cluster that comprises a single “berry” is a separate fruit with a tiny little stone in the center. (In case you ever wondered why those “seeds” were so hard, now you know.) Like all the other stone fruits, raspberries are members of the rose family. Continue reading

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Spice Boss on YouTube

I’ve written about The Spice House before (you can read the article here, if you’re not familiar with this great place). But now these excellent and enthusiastically uncompromising folks have started posting videos on YouTube. So far, they’ve just got a few, but you can learn more about the spices they offer, how they make their blends, and how to cook with some of the spices they carry. Don’t think Food Network–it’s not that glitzy. Think of it more as a good friend sharing information and giving tips.

The videos are all posted under ChicagoSpiceBoss. I thought the one on Kosher salt was a good introduction to Tom Erd, the Spice Boss, and then there’s one on their Back-of-the-Yards Garlic Pepper Butcher’s Rub, which is one of my favorite things they sell. Nice to have a little more insight into these premier purveyors of outstanding spices and herbs.

There are a couple others now, and there will be more. These always make me want to order more goodies from The Spice House. (Have to try their porcini salt! Plus I’m out of the Back-of-the-Yards rum. Time for a visit.)

Enjoy.

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