Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dark Strawberry Pudding

Summer is the season for strawberries.

Stacks of cartons of juicy, red fruit in the supermarket; farmer's markets with pounds upon pounds of strawberries of various sizes, and one of the tastiest seasonal treats there is - in my opinion - is freshly chopped strawberries on yogurt gently stained red by the fruit juices oozing out.

Thus I set out to make a treat for my colleagues - a tasty pudding or cake that would take advantage of the last strawberries of the season - before we hit the times of the shipped strawberry.

Before baking, I macerated the berries in a vinegar-sugar mixture to bring out the most flavor and aroma for the final result. It worked - the pudding caused the whole apartment to smell like strawberries! I also left the vinegar in the batter, so the pudding also turned quite dark - particularly on the outside - and caused the inside to turn a delightful purple.

Dark Strawberry Pudding

1 pound fresh strawberries
½-1 cup balsamic vinegar*
3 tbsp brown sugar

1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted + extra for greasing pan
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder

1.      Dice the strawberries thinly. You can do cubes or thin slices; I prefer cubes so that they become mushier during baking. Place into a bowl such that they have a bit of air.
2.      Mix in the balsamic vinegar and 3 tbsp sugar and shift around so that the strawberries are covered and all but the strawberries on top are submerged in the vinegar-sugar mixture. Leave to marinate for 2 hours - in the fridge is fine.
3.      Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 9”x9” baking pan.
4.      In a large mixing bowl, blend the butter, egg, and sugar until consistent.
5.      Add the vanilla extract and milk, and stir in.
6.      Stir in the flour and baking powder until you have a consistent, thick batter.
7.      Add the berry mixture – strawberries, vinegar and sugar – and blend to combine. Be sure to keep the vinegar, it adds flavor and gives the pudding the dark color.
8.      Once the mixture is blended and the berries evenly distributed, pour the mix into the pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out only with a bit of strawberry on it. Remove from oven, cool, and serve.

*I am aware that balsamic vinegar can cause issues for more than one dietary restriction (halal always, almost always very strict kashrut, vegetarian vinegar can be hard to find) and thus may be impossible to use. Several substitutions are possible, particularly involving fruit-based vinegars.

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