(in Britain a pudding is any dessert, as in "the pudding course")
Something to wait for all year, I promise. This is a perfect Summer Solstice tradition. My friend Ruth introduced me to this very simple, but very grand occasion for bone china, strong black tea and a long leisurely afternoon in the company of berries.
(Most recipes are very similar, though each cook will have her own ideal ratio/combination of berries--"ours" is always heavy on the raspberries.)
2 lbs. mixed summer berries (raspberries, red-currants, strawberries, black-currants, blueberries, blackberries,)
scant 1/2 cup of sugar (to taste)
Juice of ½ orange or one lemon
8-10 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
whipped or clotted cream to serve
fresh mint leaves, whole berries for garnish
Choose a round bowl with smooth sides for your mould, (this is similar to an upside down cake) grease lightly with butter or oil. Combine the berries (quarter the strawberries) with the sugar and lemon juice and simmer until soft. (5-10 minutes). Meanwhile, cut the crusts from the bread and press the slices into the bowl as a lining. (reserving some for the "bottom" of the pudding.) Scoop berries with juice into the bread mould and make a "lid" with the remaining slices. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and weight it with something heavy. Chill a long while (overnight is great.)
To serve, invert pudding quickly on a large plate. Let it rest a moment or two before removing the mould. Garnish with cream, mint sprig and whole berries.