6 large slices of white bread, home baked or from a proper baker.
1 1/2 lbs of summer fruit (raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blackberries... Some people like to use cherries)
6 oz sugar (more or less, depending on how tart the fruit is)
2-4 tbsp of water.
Lashings of fresh cream to serve.
A large pudding basin (2 pints or so).
Put the fruit, water and sugar into a pan and heat until the juice just runs and the fruit turns soft but not mushy. Some fruit does not need to be stewed at all, but can be added at the end of cooking (e.g. raspberries).
Set aside to cool.
Cut off the crusts from the slices of bread, and cut them into large pieces that can be arranged in the basin, so as to cover the bottom and all the sides neatly without too much overlap. Reserve a large piece or pieces for the top.
Pour in the fruit. If there is a lot of juice you can keep some back so as not to swamp it.
Put the remaining slice(s) of bread on top.
Find a saucer that does not rest on the side of the bowl but will settle in, while still covering the whole of the top of the pudding. If the pudding is very juicy a porringer with sides is good.
Put the saucer on top of the top slice of bread. Put a weight (1 lb or 2 lb) or a full jar of jam on the saucer. If the juice is coming over the edge of the saucer, stand the weight in a cup to keep it clean.
Allow the pudding to cool and then refrigerate over night. There should be enough juice to soak the top slice of bread thoroughly (if you kept some back you may want to add it later if the pudding seems too dry).
Remove the weight and the saucer. Run a palette knife round the pudding to loosen the sides. Turn it out onto a deep dish. Serve slices of the pudding on white plates, with silver spoons and lashings of fresh cream served in a silver jug.