To be a host, party-giver, entertainer. For us one of the most important priorities is to make sure everyone feels included. Wether it is clients at the studio for a shoot, or if we are hosting one of our photography/styling workshops, or if it is just friends over at the house, that sense of inclusion amongst everyone defines the success as us as hosts.
More than once we’ve subjected friends to dorky games, coercing even the shyest ones into participation. There’s nothing like shared dorkdom to bring a group together. However as we’ve grown, our style has shifted away from shared torture and more towards pleasure, I sure to the relief of our dear friends who somehow still want to get together with us. Plus, professionally the dorky games might not have flown too well with clients.
Instead we focus on the food. The heartbeat of a gathering. Figuring out a menu that everyone can enjoy isn’t as simple as it used to be. We used to just have people mention they were vegetarian or occasionally a nut allergy or dairy restriction would come up. Today as people are becoming more aware of what their bodies are able to process and are more comfortable sharing that with others we get more and more scenarios to try to accommodate.
So when we find a dish which is delicious and also happens to be “safe” for a great range of guests, we get super excited. Particularly when it comes to desserts. Desserts are that special finish to a meal and to have someone feel left out or like an outcast because they can’t partake along with the rest of the group just sucks. So after we stumbled upon this pudding recipe from Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand we immediately added it to our stock of go-to recipes.
The pudding is quick to make, gluten-free and dairy free. Triple win. And more importantly, it is very tasty. In her original recipe she used raspberries and strawberries, creating a stunning red pudding. At the time I had a bunch of strawberries which were on their last days and some blackberries in the freezer. I made a few tweaks to taste and the end result was excellent. Even with the sub-par strawberries. As we’ve re-made the recipe time and time again, using better fruit of the season the taste has just gotten better.
Since that first time I’ve just kept with the same strawberry-blackberry combo, just mixing it up between fresh or frozen fruit and adjusting the sugar as needed of the day’s fruit. I just liked the combo so much I haven’t changed. Someday I’ll have to make her strawberry-raspberry combo as I know it will be delicious, but the strawberry-blackberry has been our current go-to.
We’ve made this over and over for our workshop attendees and for clients and everyone loves it. And the look on the faces of those who usually have to miss out on desserts because they can’t have gluten or dairy and now get to be included along with everyone else is priceless. Hope you enjoy too.
Strawberry-Blackberry Pudding Recipe
Yield: Makes 3 1/2 cups
Total Time: 3 hours
Adapted from Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand. This is a great dessert for a crowd, being both gluten-free and dairy-free. Plus it is quick to make. Just give yourself enough planning ahead to chill the pudding. Make sure to taste the pudding while you are making it and adjust the sugar to taste.
- 1 1/2 (360ml) cups water
- 1/4 cup (32g) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 12 ounces (340g) blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 12 ounces (340g) strawberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) fresh lemon juice (about 1 average lemon)
- Whisk together the water, cornstarch, and salt until well combined. Whisk in the egg yolks. Set aside.
- Blend the blackberries, strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice into a puree. Pour the puree into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk about 1 cup (240ml) of the hot puree into the cornstarch mixture. Pour the tempered cornstarch/berry mixture into the saucepan with the remaining puree, whisking vigorously.
- Return the saucepan to the cooktop and heat over medium heat. Bring the pudding to a boil, whisking frequently. The pudding will thicken and the bubbles will rise large and slow, making a "gloop or plop" sound - as the author or Bakeless Sweets perfectly describes.
- Continue to simmer for 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Immediately strain the pudding through a wire mesh sieve. Pour the strained pudding into a shallow container and cover with a piece of plastic wrap or butter wax paper directly touching the top surface of the pudding. Chill for at least 2 hours and serve in dessert cups with a fresh whipped cream. Best eaten within 3 days.