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Autumn Pudding

Exactly the same as summer pudding, but this time the bread-lined basin is filled with a juicy mixture of the fine fruits of autumn. Keep any left-over juice to 'top up' any dry patches of bread.

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
700 g (1 1/2 lb) mixed autumn fruit, such as apples, blackberries, plums, prepared
about 25 g (1 oz) light soft brown sugar
8 - 10 thin slices of day-old bread, crusts removed
fresh fruit and mint sprigs, to decorate

method

1. Stew the fruit gently with 60 - 90 ml (4 - 6 tbsp) water and the sugar until soft but still retaining their shape. The exact amounts of water and sugar depend on the ripeness and sweetness of the fruit.

2. Meanwhile, cut a round from one slice of bread to neatly fit the bottom of a 1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding basin and cut 6-8 slices of the bread into fingers about 5 cm (2 inches) wide. Put the round at the bottom of the basin and arrange the fingers around the sides, overlapping them so there are no spaces.

3. When the fruit is cooked, and still hot, pour it gently into the basin, being careful not to disturb the bread framework. Reserve about 45 ml (3 tbsp) of the juice. When the basin is full, cut the remaining bread and use to cover the fruit so a lid is formed.

4. Cover with foil, then a plate or saucer which fits just inside the bowl and put a weight on top. Leave the pudding until cold, then put into the refrigerator and chill overnight.

5. To serve, run a knife carefully round the edge to loosen, then invert the pudding on to a serving dish. Pour the reserved juice over the top. Serve cold with cream. Decorate with fruit and mint sprigs.

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