Roasted Rhubarb Summer Pudding may look a little fancy in these photos, but it is so simple to make. Store bought white bread is soaked with strawberry syrup and filled with roasted rhubarb. Serve with a custard sauce, or just vanilla ice cream to make it even easier.
This old-fashioned British dessert is called Summer Pudding because it’s usually made in the height of summer with fresh, seasonal berries like currants and raspberries. Of course it’s not a “pudding” as Americans know pudding (a milk based custard), but a “pudding” in the British sense of the word, meaning dessert.
Since I’m making this with rhubarb, which is a springtime fruit (well, technically, a vegetable) in my corner of the world, I guess this is really a late spring pudding. I love rhubarb and wanted to come up with another way to prepare it in addition to my favorite Rhubarb Pie.
This really is a simple recipe. The only cooking involves roasting the rhubarb and reducing the juice. Rhubarb cooked on the stove produces a stewed fruit with a texture closer to applesauce than the chunky fruit filling that I wanted. I decided to macerate and roast the rhubarb to keep some texture in the filling. In my Peach Pie post I explain why macerating fruit in sugar helps it keep it shape while cooking. Also, roasting intensifies the sweetness in the rhubarb which allowed me to use less sugar.
This recipe is so easy because instead of making a tart crust or cake to encase the filling, you use packaged, white sandwich bread. Don’t be tempted to use slices of cake or a super rich brioche instead. The bland flavor of white bread is perfect for soaking up the syrup and allowing the flavor of the fruit to shine. I made a strawberry syrup to soak the bread because strawberry and rhubarb work so well together. I used Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread because I find it has the perfect texture for soaking up the juices and doesn’t become mushy. No, this post is not sponsored by Pepperidge Farm – I wish!
I served the Roasted Rhubarb Summer Pudding with a traditional Crème Anglaise, or vanilla custard sauce. This flavor combination echos the classic flavors of stewed rhubarb and custard. If you don’t want to fuss with making the custard sauce just serve the pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead. Ok, Ok, I’ll admit that an easy cheat for the Crème Anglaise is to use melted vanilla ice cream as a sauce, but don’t tell the Pastry Chef Police I told you that.
The puddings can be assembled several days ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to two days ahead and refrigerated. You can use smaller ramekins for smaller portions or one large ramekin for a family style presentation.
- 1 Loaf white sandwich bread
- 3 pounds (1.4 kg) rhubarb, cut into 1/2" dice
- 2 cups (16 oz, 453g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or pinch of table salt)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cleaned
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 113g) granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F convection or 375°F regular
- Toss the rhubarb with the sugar and salt, allow to macerate for 30 minutes
- Drain the juice from the rhubarb into a small pot
- Place the rhubarb onto a parchment lined baking sheet and smooth to an even layer, don't mound up or it'll steam instead of roasting.
- Roast until the rhubarb is softened and beginning to brown (about 15-20 minutes) **See Note
- Allow the rhubarb to cool to room temperature
- While the rhubarb is roasting, cook the juices over medium high until they reduce by 1/2 and are thickened to the consistency of heavy syrup, cool to room temperature (I had 1 1/4 cups juice after reducing)
- Toss the cooled rhubarb with the thickened juices, ginger and lime juice
- Strain the puree through cheesecloth or a very fine sieve
- Line 6 ramekins (12 oz ramekins) with a piece of plastic wrap so that it covers the inside of the ramekin and hangs over the sides
- Cut a round of bread to fit exactly in the bottom of each ramekin
- Trim the crusts from the bread and cut strips the height of the ramekin
- Line the sides of the ramekin with the bread strips
- Use about 2/3 of the strawberry syrup to soak the bread lining the ramekins
- Divide the rhubarb filling among the 6 dishes, packing the fruit tightly
- Cut a circle of bread to top each pudding (if you run out of bread you can use scraps for this since it will be the bottom of the dessert).
- Use remaining strawberry syrup to soak the bread on top of each pudding. You can reserve a couple of tablespoons for decorating the plate if you'd like.
- Fold the plastic wrap over the puddings and refrigerate overnight
- Peel back the plastic wrap from the top of each pudding
- Flip the pudding onto a serving plate and lift off the ramekin
- Peel away the plastic wrap
- Serve with Crème Anglaiseand garnish with fresh berries, if you'd like.
**Don't stir the rhubarb while it's roasting or it will break down. If the pieces around the edges of the tray are getting very brown remove the tray from the oven and carefully lift the sides of the parchment paper to roll the pieces along the edge towards the middle of the tray. Shake the tray to redistribute the pieces and return to the oven.
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