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 Creme 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 Creme 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.
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