This is a traditional British summer treat when the ripe berry fruits are available. It needs to be made the day before, to allow for overnight chilling in a fridge.
8 large slices slightly stale white bread (use a good quality bread, not white ready-sliced supermarket stuff, it has to be robust enough to absorb the juices from the fruits, without falling apart)
100g caster sugar
5tbsp water mixed with a little elderflower cordial (optional, but I love the flavour)
750g mixed soft summer fruit, eg as strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, blueberries, whitecurrants, redcurrants and blackcurrants
Cut the crusts from the bread and discard. Cut the bread into thick fingers and use cut one slice to the diameter of the top of the 1-litre pudding basin.
Put the sugar and water/cordial in a large pan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the fruit to the pan, bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 6-8 minutes until the mixture is swimming in juice.
Very ightly grease a one-litre pudding bowl, and sprinkle bowl with a little caster sugar to adhere the inside of the basin .Then use some of the bread to line a one-litre-capacity pudding bowl. Make sure that you patch if there are any gaps. Add half the hot fruit mixture, then cover with a layer of the bread. Add the remaining fruit, reserving 2-3 tbsp of the juices, and cover with the circle of bread, making sure that you put the circle WITHIN the ‘walls’ of bread. Cover the basin with a saucer, which should sit right on the pudding itself. Add a couple of heavy weights, or heavy tins, to press the pudding down. Transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 12 hours.
To serve, remove the weights and the saucer, place a serving dish over the top of the basin and invert, shaking gently so the pudding comes out. If there are any ‘white spots’ in the pudding where the juices have not soaked through, use the 2-3 tablespoons you reserved
Serve with double cream.