- 300g strawberry
Once available in Britain for just a brief period during the summer, strawberries are now a year…
- 250g blackberry
A purply black-coloured berry comprising many individual seed-containing fruits surrounding a…
- 100g redcurrant
These shiny little berries grow low on bushes, hanging from the branches like rows of miniature…
- 500g raspberry
A member of the rose family, raspberries have a wonderfully intense, sweet taste, and many…
- OR 1¼kg/2lb 12oz mixed berries and currants of your choice
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 7 slices day-old white bread, from a square, medium-cut loaf
Bring out the juices: Wash fruit and gently dry on kitchen paper – keep strawberries separate. Put sugar and 3 tbsp water into a large pan. Gently heat until sugar dissolves – stir a few times. Bring to a boil for 1 min, then tip in the fruit (not strawberries). Cook for 3 mins over a low heat, stirring 2-3 times. The fruit will be softened, mostly intact and surrounded by dark red juice. Put a sieve over a bowl and tip in the fruit and juice.
Line the bowl with cling film and prepare the bread: Line the 1.25-litre basin with cling film as this will help you to turn out the pudding. Overlap two pieces of cling film in the middle of the bowl as it’s easier than trying to get one sheet to stick to all of the curves. Let the edges overhang by about 15cm. Cut the crusts off the bread. Cut 4 pieces of bread in half, a little on an angle, to give 2 lopsided rectangles per piece. Cut 2 slices into 4 triangles each and leave the final piece whole.
Build the pud: Dip the whole piece of bread into the juice for a few secs just to coat. Push this into the bottom of the basin. Now dip the wonky rectangular pieces one at a time and press around the basin’s sides so that they fit together neatly, alternately placing wide and narrow ends up. If you can’t quite fit the last piece of bread in it doesn’t matter, just trim into a triangle, dip in juice and slot in. Now spoon in the softened fruit, adding the strawberries here and there as you go.
Let flavours mingle then serve: Dip the bread triangles in juice and place on top – trim off overhang with scissors. Keep leftover juice for later. Bring cling film up and loosely seal. Put a side plate on top and weight down with cans. Chill for 6 hrs or overnight. To serve, open out cling film then put a serving plate upside-down on top and flip over. serve with leftover juice, any extra berries and cream.
Spiced apple berry puddingUse spiced fruit loaf instead of white bread to line the basin. Heat sugar and water together, then gently cook 2 large peeled cored and chopped cooking apples for 5 mins until softened. Add 850g mixed blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and raspberries and 1⁄2 tsp mixed spice and cook for a few mins until the fruit softens. Build the pud and serve with vanilla ice-cream.
Equipment1.25-litre pudding basin, cling film, sharp knife, chopping board, large pan, large bowl, large sieve, kitchen scissors, side plate, serving plate and one or two cans for weighting down.
Apricot berry brioche puddingFor a decadent twist, add 3 tbsp crème de cassis or framboise to the sugar in the pan instead of water. Gently cook about 650g halved and stoned apricots in the syrup for 5 mins, then add about 650g mixed raspberries, blackberries and currants and cook for a few mins more. Line the basin with cling film as before then layer up the fruit and juice- soaked slices of brioche from a large loaf, rather than lining the sides with it. Wrap and weight down the pudding.
Berries over cooked or white patches?The best thing to do is add more berries, strawberries are best. If your bread is patchy, take the spare juice and spoon it over - people will never know.
The sugar in the pan won’t dissolve?It takes a lot longer than you might think to dissolve caster sugar. Be patient and keep the heat low. It’s ready when there’s no grittiness at the bottom when you stir.