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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, April 24

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Foodporn Thu Aug 16 2007

Does it Need to Look Pretty to Taste Good?

Summertime is a good time for food porn. Colorful, varied, and never boring, I find pics of summer dishes to be almost better than eating the darned thing. So when I got my hands on a recent Smitten Kitchen post about a Summer Berry Pudding, I began planning my own foray into photographed cooking. I was going to make the Summer Berry Pudding. And it was going to be artful, clean, and delicious. Just like the photos.

Everything was looking good. The warming saucepan of the four fruits--strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries--gave off a inviting smell as they stewed. It's a major accomplishment for me to have this many berries in my possession.

The first corner was cut when I busted out a loaf of store-bought angel food cake. You can also make this recipe with plain white sandwich bread, or brioche if you have the goods. The layer of cake, fruit syrup from the pan, then slotted spoons of fruit, took no time at all. I then covered the dish with wax paper (because wax paper is the new plastic wrap, with respect to this recipe)and let it sit overnight with a cookie sheet topped with sealed bottled waters on top of it to help the overnight settling process.

The next afternoon, I unwrapped the pudding to see its transformation. I was, uh, not unpleased.

But it looked like the paste-eating cousin of the Smitten Kitchen product. In all honesty, however, my pudding really does not disappoint; a light, lovely fruit and syrup soaked in a subtle sponge cake is a perfect, healthy dessert for this time of the year, and a nice way to use seasonal summer fruit.

Here's the reposted recipe (from Cook's Illustrated, 7/1/99):


2 pints fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled, and sliced
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
8 slices potato bread (stale), challah, or other good-quality white bread

Stale the bread for this recipe by leaving it out overnight. Otherwise, put the slices on a rack in a single layer into a 200-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, turning them once halfway through. If you use challah, the second choice for bread, cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices. If neither potato bread nor challah is available, use a good-quality white sandwich bread with a dense, soft texture. To ensure that this larger pudding unmolds in one piece, use a greased loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment to summer pudding

+ + +

1. Heat strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and sugar in large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to release their juice and sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice; let cool to room temperature.

2. While berries are cooling, spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray. Remove crusts from bread slices and trim them to fit in a single layer in the loaf pan (it will take approximately 2 1/2 slices to form one layer). Line the loaf pan with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap lies flat against the surface of the loaf pan, leaving no air space.

3. Place the loaf pan on a rimmed cookie sheet and use a slotted spoon to place about 2 cups of fruit into the bottom. Lightly soak enough bread slices for one layer in juice and place on top of fruit. Repeat with two more layers of fruit and bread. Top with remaining juices, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and weight with a second cookie sheet and several heavy cans. Refrigerate puddings for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

4. Remove weights, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. To unmold, invert onto serving platter. Lift off loaf pan; remove plastic wrap lining and serve.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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