As Americans, we sometimes struggle to understand the varying food words that differentiate British English from our bastardized take on the Queen's tongue. There are crisps, versus chips; and then, of course, chips versus French fries.
But one of the more bewildering terms for Americans to understand in its proper English context is "pudding," which, to us, has come to mean a very specific type of custardy stuff that is creamy, viscous, and nine times out of ten, flavored like chocolate, vanilla, or butterscotch.
Our definition of pudding seems positively imprisoned when compared to that of the Brits, who are throwing the term around left and right to refer to all sorts of cakes and parfaits and other crazy shit, most of which has sugar in it and that's our only real common thread (though some are savory—what the hell is going on?). There is black pudding, made with fucking blood, which is about as different from a Jell-O pudding cup as they come; Yorkshire pudding, which is essentially a popover; and then red pudding ... commentary withheld. Red pudding is a mystery.
But if you're going to pay homage to the English sense of pudding, the best way to do is with summer pudding, a wonderful trifle of cake and fruit and cream. Sure, it's a little different than the pudding you grew up eating from the Costco in Fresno, but that's a good thing.
As seen in the premiere of our series The Dinner Bell, host Julia Ziegler-Haynes is a master when it comes to effortless-seeming entertaining. Her summer pudding is the edible embodiment of that quality, with charm and beauty to spare despite a relatively simple preparation.
It starts with a light, sugary, lemon-thyme sponge cake, sliced into layers and alternated with a rich whipped cream (mixed with Greek yogurt for extra oomph). Then, the whole thing gets loaded with fresh fruit. And it's the middle of summer, so there's no excuse not to get some seriously 100 berries from the farmers' market and go to town.
If you can't beat an alternate definition of pudding, join it. And then eat it.