Berry pudding (also called summer pudding) is packed with goodness and bursting with flavour. It is a perfect dessert for a hot Australian Christmas that falls in the middle of the berry season and by far healthier and more refreshing than a traditional Christmas pudding.
50g2.1 oz sugar - more if the fruit is tart or you have sweet tooth
cream to servefresh berries, mint or similar for decoration
Slice the bread and remove the crusts. Place the first slice at the base of the bowl and then the rest around, overlapping slightly
Put the berries and the sugar in the saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or till juices start to run. Spoon slightly cooled fruit mixture into the bread lined bowl. If there is plenty of juice, leave some for serving.
Cover the top with the remaining bread slices (fold over side slices first).
Put a plate on the bowl and weigh it down with whatever is in the fridge: milk cartons, jars of jam or bottles of sauces. Refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours or even better overnight (great dessert to prepare ahead for a busy day). To catch any juices oozing over the brim, put a plate underneath the bowl.
To serve, remove the plate, loosen the sides of the pudding with a spatula or a knife, place the serving plate on the top and invert the pudding onto the plate. Pour the reserved juice if any left, decorate with fresh berries, mint leaves or to your liking. I've used pineapple sage leaves to decorate my summer berry pudding on the picture above. Serve with whipped cream.
Bread: A homemade white loaf or one from the baker works better than a pre-sliced sandwich or toast bread (too soft to hold the shape), wholemeal, seeded, some sourdough or breads with large holes like ciabbata. Make sure not to press or flatten the slices when arranging in the bowl or they won't soak up the juice. This especially applies to shop bought white toast bread.Sweet breads like brioche are also suitable for the summer berry pudding.Fruit: Frozen berries can be used too. Prepare it the same way as fresh berries. You can substitute 1/3 to 1/2 of the berry quantity needed with some other type of fruit like peaches or plums if berries are too pricey or you're short of the amount needed.Bowl: glass or ceramic (china) bowl works well, but you can use any provided it's not too big or too deep so you don't end up with a pudding that is difficult to serve or collapses. No need to line the bowl with the cling wrap or to oil it.Freezing: Berry pudding freezes well, but allow the time in the fridge first to let the bread to soak up juices before freezing.Food intolerance: Served without cream this dessert is dairy free. Substitute coconut cream for whipped cream if desired. If you use gluten free bread, summer berry pudding becomes an healthy and easy gluten free dessert.