Perhaps not the prettiest of puddings, but certainly one of the most beloved of British summer desserts. Juicy, peak-of-the-season berries nestled inside a layer of fresh brioche (or, old-fashioned white bread) make for a sublime end to your meal, or a sumptuous tea-time treat. The pudding is best made the day before and left to sit in the fridge so that the bread has a chance to absorb the juices from the berries. BBC GoodFood recommends serving the pudding with clotted cream (which we highly recommend), but we have also served it with Bird’s Custard or simply a drizzle of cream. It is often difficult to find fresh red currants, which add a slight crunch and gentle tang to the pudding — but not to worry, you can make a success of this recipe without them!
11 oz. raspberries (2 ½ cups), plus a few extra to serve
8 oz. blackberries or blueberries (1 ¾ cups), plus a few extra to serve
4 oz. red currants (¾ cup), plus a few extra to serve
14 oz. strawberries (2 ½ cups), hulled and quartered, plus a few extra to serve
5 oz. golden caster sugar (¾ cup)
1 brioche loaf or old-fashioned white bread loaf
clotted cream, to serve
Wash to fruit and place it all, except for the strawberries in a large pan with the golden caster sugar and 3 tbs. of water. Gently heat for 3 minutes until the juices from the fruit start to seep out. Add the strawberries and cook for 2 minutes more. Drain the juice from the fruit over a large bowl. Taste the juice and add a little more sugar if necessary.
Line a 1.2 litre (6 cup) pudding basin (or bowl) with a double layer of cling film, leaving an overlap around the top. Remove the crusts from the bread and slice the loaf into 1cm-thick ( 3/8″-thick) slices along the length of the loaf. Cut 1 slice in half width-ways and trim the corners to fit in the base of the bowl – you may need to use both squares, trimmed to fit.
Trim the slices to the correct length to line the sides of the bowl. To assemble the pudding, dip the slices into the the fruit juice, then use them to line the basin. Start with the bottom pieces, then lay soaked rectangles of bread along the sides of the bowl. If you have any gaps left at the end, patch these up with any remaining bread, but make sure you save some for the base.
Tip the fruit into the lined basin. Finish the pudding with a layer of bread to make the base, then pour over any remaining liquid. Wrap the overhanging cling film over the top.
Place a small plate, which will fit snugly on top of the basin, over the cling film and weigh down with 2 x 14 oz. cans of tomatoes or beans. Leave the pudding weighed down in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, or overnight if possible.
To serve, unwrap the cling film and place a serving plate over the pudding. Flip it over, remove the basin and carefully peel away the cling film. Serve in slices with clotted cream.