Autumn Pudding with Blackberries and Bay (6-8)

A lovely variation on summer pudding from Thomasina Miers, best made with slightly stale sliced white bread. You will need a 1.5 litre pudding basin.

Autumn Pudding with Blackberries and Bay (6-8)
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Autumn Pudding with Blackberries and Bay (6-8)
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  1. Stone the damsons or plums and cut into blackberry-sized chunks. Put the sugar, orange peel, vanilla pod, bay and 100ml water in a large, deep pan and bring to a boil. Add the damsons, turn down the heat and simmer gently for six to eight minutes, until the fruit is soft.
  2. Add the blackberries and raspberries, and taste the syrup: add a little more sugar if you think it could do with extra sweetness. Bring back up to a simmer and, as soon as a few of the berries have burst, take off the heat, discard the vanilla, bay and orange peel, and leave to cool.
  3. Butter the pudding bowl and generously butter the bread slices. Line the bowl with two-thirds of the bread slices, laying them in butter side up. Tear a slice or two of bread into the required shapes to patch up any gaps, then pour the fruit into the bread-lined basin, gently pressing it down with a spoon.
  4. Top with the remaining slices of bread, trimming them as necessary, then cover tightly with clingfilm and put a saucer or small plate on top (ideally, one that fits neatly inside the bowl). Weigh down the plate and refrigerate the pudding overnight.
  5. The next day, remove the weights and saucer. Run a thin blade all around the edge of the pudding, gently to loosen it from the sides, then put a large plate on top and flip it out. Serve with lots of sharp creme fraiche or rich, thick cream.
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