Save this pudding for soft, overripe berries: The juicier the berries are, the better the pudding will be. I've had good luck making this pudding in winter with frozen mixed berries. Serve it with vanilla custard sauce or unwhipped heavy cream.
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 8 cups) mixed berries
- 5 to 6 tablespoons sugar, or additional as necessary
- 12 to 14 slices dry white bread (about 3/4 pound), crusts trimmed and discarded
- Heavy cream or vanilla custard sauce, for serving (optional)
Reserve 1/2 cup of berries for garnish.
Combine the berries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently, just until the fruit softens and releases its juices, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. If all the juices evaporate, it might be necessary to add 1/2 cup water so the fruit cooks thoroughly. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.
Have ready a deep, rounded glass bowl that holds at least 5 cups. Line the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing the excess to hang over the sides. Line the bowl with several of the bread slices, placing a single slice over the bottom of the bowl and working outward, trimming the slices as necessary so the edges fit tightly against one another. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the berries on top of the bread, adding just enough of the juice to moisten the bread thoroughly. Reserve the remaining juice. Cover the berries with the remaining slices of bread and spoon a bit of the reserved juice over the bread. Place a flat plate for a weight on top of the pudding, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 3 days.
To serve, shortly before serving run a knife around the edge of the pudding, place a plate over the bowl and carefully and quickly invert the bowl onto the plate. Remove the bowl, then remove and discard the plastic wrap. Baste any white patches of bread with the reserved juice. If desired, spoon a ribbon of custard sauce or cream around the pudding and decorate with reserved berries. Pass any remaining heavy cream or vanilla custard sauce separately.
Tested by Anne Willan.
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