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Summer berry pudding is a combination of bread and berries that struck me as rather peculiar until I tasted it. It was the bread, I guess, that threw me off. But this is a delicious way to use a mix of berries and create a lovely dessert that's perfect for summer. Also, I often do what I'm doing right now: just make the berries and freeze them to cheer me up in the middle of Toronto's frosty winter.

Start with a mix of berries. Here's what I use, but feel free to create your own combination:

Heat the berries and sugar in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occaisionally, until they start to release their juice and the sugar has dissolved, perhaps 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, think about how you want to make and serve this. You can make it in one loaf pan, which is easier, or in 6 individual 6 oz. (3/4 cup) ramekins , which is more work but also classier. You can just spoon the dessert out of the container to eat it, which is friendly, or unmold it with a flourish onto a plate or plates, which is more elegant. If using ramekins, you'll need to cut the bread out to fit in the containers; otherwise you can just trim the bread a bit to fit in the loaf pan. If you're going to unmold, you'll want to spray the ramekins with vegetable cooking spray or line the loaf pan with plastic wrap.

Okay, now I think the berries are cool and you've wrestled with your dilemmas and made some decisions. Put your container(s) of choice on a rimmed cookie sheet and begin.

Using a slotted spoon, put a thin layer of berries in the bottom of the container(s). Dip a bit of bread into the berry juices in the pot, just to moisten it, then put that on top of the berries. Spoon the rest of the fruit into the container(s), dip another bit of bread into the juices that are still left in the pot, then put the bread on the top of the containers. Ideally, that last piece of bread should stick up a bit over the edge of the ramekins/loaf pan. Now place another cookie sheet on top of the whole thing and weigh it down with something - cans of beans, say. Now you see why you've got that cookie sheet underneath: to catch the oozing juices. Put the whole thing in the fridge for 6 to 24 hours. You can serve this with freshly whipped cream for a deliciously decadent summer treat. Serves 6.

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