This pudding is an opportunity to use up some slightly stale bread; white is the classic choice but wholemeal works well too.
The berries are up to you; slightly squashy overripe fruit is just fine and, although some might frown on the inclusion of strawberries, cherries or blackberries, it’s really down to taste and what’s available. It’s a lot of fruit, so best wait for lower prices in the late summer or even visit a pick-your-own farm. Frozen mixed berries are often a more economical option, but do take care not to overcook them and end up with mush.
This pudding is best made the day before serving so that the bread has time to soak up the juices and holds together better. When it comes to turning out, a flexible plastic pudding basin is helpful, or you could line a ceramic basin with cling film.
SERVES 6 - 8
- About 7–8 slices of stale bread, crusts removed (great for breadcrumbs)
- 900g (2lb) mixed berries, traditionally raspberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants
- 120g (4oz) light muscovado sugar, plus extra if needed
- 50ml (2fl oz) water
- Whipped cream or ice cream, to serve
Cut a circle of bread to fit the bottom of a 1 litre (1¾ pint) pudding basin, press it in, then line the walls, overlapping the slices and pressing them together to seal. You should still have a little bread left over for the lid.
Heat the fruit, sugar and water together in a large saucepan for 2 minutes, or until the juices begin to bleed and the sugar dissolves. If using frozen fruit, only add about half of the fruit to the pan, then stir in the remaining fruit off the heat, otherwise your filling will be in danger of collapsing to a mush. Taste, as you may need more sugar; that’s all down to your choice of fruit.
Spoon the warm berries into the bread-lined basin, reserving a few tablespoons of the juice, then top with a layer of bread.
Stand the pudding basin on a dish and cover with a saucer or plate that just fits inside the rim, pop a heavy weight on top and refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving, slide a palette knife around the inside of the basin and turn it out onto a plate with a lip that can hold the juice. If the pudding sticks stubbornly in its bowl, then give it a sharp shake and leave it for a moment for gravity to do its work. Tip the reserved juice over the pudding, focusing on any spots where the juice failed to seep through.
About the bookA Good Appetite by Jenny Chandler is a delightful cookbook and guide for food lovers who want to be greener. It is packed with practical information and more than 50 recipes for making the way you shop and cook more planet-friendly – from eating with the seasons and batch cooking to foraging and growing some of your own food.