The transition from Summer to Autumn has definitely begun here in Sydney, but secretly this is my favourite time of the year. I love it when the mornings and evenings are crisp enough to warrant a jacket but the days are nice and warm. I’m hoping to get in at least one last swim at the beach before it gets too cold!
We found the last of the summer fruit at the farmers market this weekend, but new season apples and pears are starting to make an appearance as well. I’ve already started cooking with pumpkin and making warm curries, dinner tonight will be a comforting beef ragu. But I had to farewell summer with something special – my own take on the aptly named Summer Pudding.
A Summer Pudding is a classic British dessert and a celebration of berries. Typically it is made with stale bread which is soaked with berry juice and then used to line a pudding bowl. In the centre are macerated berries, and it is usually served with cream. I like to imagine it is always eaten in the garden. Sounds good to me!
As you might know by now, I do love a new and interesting twist on a classic dessert. In this case I’ve twisted it all the way to breakfast time. I’ve soaked slices of brioche in a homemade berry syrup, eggs, cream and lots of vanilla to make a pretty purplish-pink French Toast. I used fresh raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but the best part is that you could make this at any time of year with frozen berries.
I tried both single slices and french toast “sandwiches” with berries and mascarpone inside. One tip I would give is to actually let your brioche go a little stale. The recipe was originally used to give a new life to stale white bread. Mine was bought the same day as I made this, and because it was fresh the sandwiches became quite difficult to flip over in the pan.
I cooked them on a very low heat and was hoped the brioche wouldn’t colour too much in the pan so the pink of the berry syrup would be obvious, but it did turn quite golden. However you could still see the pretty pink colour when you cut into the slices, which made me happy as I was eating them. I topped my stack of Summer Pudding French Toast with a scoop of mascarpone, extra berry compote and fresh berries. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or a drizzle of maple syrup wouldn’t go astray either, if you’re feeling extra decadent!
Berry Summer Pudding French Toast
- 1 punnet raspberries
- 1 punnet blueberries
- 1 punnet blackberries
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 2 tablespoons Chambord
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup cream
- 8 slices brioche (a little stale is best)
- Extra fresh berries, to serve
First make the berry syrup by placing the raspberries, blueberries and blackberries into a small saucepan with the sugar, vanilla and Chambord. Cook over low heat, mashing gently with a fork until the berries release their juices. Simmer until the berry liquid has thickened a little. Strain into a jug and allow to cool. Reserve the berries to serve with the french toast.
Whisk the eggs and cream in a bowl or jug and add the cooled berry syrup. Pour into a shallow dish. If making French Toast Sandwiches spread one slice with mascarpone, top with the berry compote and another slice of brioche. Soak in the egg-cream mixture for 1 minute each side and cook in a pre-heated frypan. I used a non-stick pan over low heat so I wouldn’t have to add butter as I thought that might affect the colour. I cooked them for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining slices of brioche. Serve topped with a scoop of mascarpone or ice cream and extra compote and fresh berries.