Feliciana Summer Pudding

English fare became commonplace in St. Francisville, La. The English began building their plantation empires in these hills, the “Rolling Felicianas.” Summer pudding was a spring and early summer staple found on most English tables during the plantation period.

4 pints strawberries, stemmed and quartered
2 pints blueberries
2 pints blackberries
1½ cups Champagne
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tbsps lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 tbsp honey
3–4 tsps grenadine
3 (10-inch) loaves French bread

If French bread or baguettes are not available, substitute sliced bread with crust removed. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine Champagne, water and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a low simmer, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Add berries and cook 10–12 minutes or until fruit is softened and juice has been extracted into Champagne mixture. Add lemon juice and salt. Check for sweetness of juice and adjust with additional sugar if necessary. Set aside and cool slightly. Place 6 (6-ounce) ramekins on a cookie sheet and spoon 2–3 tablespoons of berry mixture into each. Slice French bread into ½-inch rounds, tearing if necessary to fit evenly into ramekins. Press 1 slice of bread gently into each ramekin. Top with more fruit and continue layering fruit and bread until each dish is filled. Be sure to press bread gently after each layer to absorb juice. Spoon all remaining juice into cups until nearly overflowing. Cover each ramekin in plastic wrap and top with a can or other weight then place in refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve, place a generous amount of Crème Anglaise (see recipe) in bottom of a 10-inch plate and unmold pudding in the center.


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