Bomba di Bosco
There really isn't a lot that needs to be said after seeing that photo now, is the folks? I think it looks truly irresistable! Well- except for a big "Thank You!" to my friend Michael, for passing me on the following article ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jul/06/how-cook-perfect-summer-pudding ) and giving me the inspiration to try it out for myself! Those sneaky Brits! What a clever and simple idea and one that truly is the best thing since sliced bread...
At first, I was simply taken by how yummy and unctuous this little devil looks. Then I read the article and was a little "gob-smacked" at how easy to make it is- and at the simple trick that makes it perfect for a dessert dilletant like me! Basically, this dessert is made by lining a bowl with sliced white bread and then filling it with berries. Press down firmly, allow to soak, turn out onto a serving dish and declare yourself the king of the world- or at least the kitchen! Fear not- I DID elaborate a little and will share with you what I did and why... but in essence, that is all the work that is involved! Yes indeed, you KNOW you want to try this!
So- grab yourselves a couple of slices of the plainest, sliced white bread that you can find. The article did say that the Italians would tend to want to use Panettone and the French, Brioche if they made this- but I wanted to go the lowest-fat way and see if the British version with bread would do the business.
I always try to be health- conscious when I cook, having fought to maintain my weight my whole life. At the same time we all love to enjoy something sweet occasionally- and that is going to entail the use of sugar. I have a simple theory when it comes to food. Eating sugar can make you fat, but can also give you energy, whereas eating fat will make you fat, period. So let's cut back on the fat as much as we can, without sacrificing our flavors too much and lets use sugar in moderation too. And then let's move our little tushes afterwards and burn those few extra calories off!
How much sugar you use to flavor your berries is a matter of taste- and a matter of how sour those berries are! So I will leave that up to your own judgement, but the way I went about flavoring mine was by adding some lime juice first and stirring in a little, just to start the berries giving off their own juices. The mix of berries is also up to you- I happened to have red currants and blackberries at the time, but you could use any berries to make this. I added orange and lime zest, cinnamon and vanilla and a couple of tablespoons of sugar. My "bomb" was made in a breakfast bowl... and I found, for my taste, for that amount of berries, the 2 tablespoons to be more than adequate. Give them a good stir and be a little rough with them, so that they give off more juice- but don't go crazy! You still want those berries to be recognizable afterwards! I then added the juice of the orange I took the zest from and let the berries sit for an hour or so by room temperature. Have yourself a drink or three in the meantime... oh- and if you are making your bomb purely for adults... go an add a splash of Cointreau into the mix... hic!
After an hour or so, you should have a lovely, syrupy berry mix, ready to fill into your bread shell. I added a small amount of an instant gelatine powder, the kind that doesn't require any cooking. I wanted to keep this whole thing tasting fresh, clean and fruity as possible and didn't want to heat those berries and turn them into a jam. Plus, sometimes it is fun being lazy and taking the easy way out! And being as this whole thing is super-simple, I figured why spoil my fun now? So- in the berries go, right up to the brim and a little beyond. You are going to have to press those berries down firmly AND have plenty of juice in there, so that the bread gets nice and soaked... and it WILL probably get a little messy! One thing I would do next time, would be to give the bread a head-start by dipping it in the juices first... so there you go- ANOTHER little tip from me! I found the most satisfying way to press those berries in firmly, without making too much mess, was to wrap cling-film around the bowl, to put a plate on top, and to turn the whole thing upside down and press firmly. Some of the berries are going to squelch out at the edges- but the cling-foil will keep the damages to a minimum! Now all that you have to do is to refrigerate your Berry Bomb for at least 24 hrs, so that the flavors intensify, the bread gets nicely soaked and it becomes firm enough to slice.
And yes it WILL fall apart a little afterwards- but it is just a cool way of presenting a selection of fresh berries, which you can enjoy with a scoop of ice cream, some cold custard or a dab of whipped cream... the bread is just a simple way of holding things together. And being as this is NOT a cake and you don't have any butter or margarine in there... you can have it and you can eat it too!