Summer Berry-Banana Puddings (Serves 6)
When berry season comes around, I practically hear trumpets announcing the fruit's arrival. The key twist is to take advantage of the inherent sweetness of ripe bananas, which are not a typical summer pudding component.
NOTE: You'll need six 1-cup ramekins. The puddings need to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours, and up to 1 day in advance.
12 slices soft whole-wheat bread, crusts removed
2 cups sliced strawberries, plus more for optional garnish
2 cups blueberries, plus more for optional garnish
2 cups raspberries
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons honey
2 very ripe medium bananas
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cut a round from each piece of bread that will just fit into your 1-cup ramekins. (Save the remaining scraps of bread for another use, such as bread crumbs.)
Combine the berries, water and honey in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the berries break down. While the berry mixture is still hot, mash the banana with a fork until smooth, then stir it into the berry mixture, along with the vanilla extract.
Place a heaping tablespoon of the berry-banana mixture in each ramekin. Add one round of bread to each, then divide the remaining berry-banana mixture among the ramekins and top each with another round of bread. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (to catch any overflowing juices). Loosely cover each one with plastic wrap, then place a 425 weight, such as a can of beans, on top of each one to compress the pudding.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, and up to 1 day.
To serve, remove the plastic wrap.
Run a knife along the sides of the pudding, then invert each one into a dessert glass or onto a plate.
Garnish with the fresh berries, if using.
The Washington Post