Put all the fruit (once cleaned, or defrosted in my case) in a stainless-steel saucepan over a low heat. Taste the fruit for sweetness and add sugar accordingly. For normal, sweet raspberries and slightly tart currants, I add 3 tablespoons or so of sugar, bear in mind that the finished pudding should have a bit of sharpness to it.
The currants will start to burst and give out their juice. They need no longer than three or four minutes at a cautious simmer.
Slice the bread thickly. Each slice should be about as thick as your little finger. (Thinner if you are making several smaller puddings in individual moulds or you have giant fingers!!.) Cut the crusts off the bread. Set one piece aside, then cut the rest into ‘soldiers’, that is, each slice of bread into three long fingers. Cut a disc of bread from the reserved slice and push it into the bottom of the pudding basin.
I always quickly rinse the pudding basin with water before lining it with the bread, it helps when getting the pudding out of the basin later.
Line the inside of the basin with the strips of bread, pushing them together snugly so that no fruit can escape, and keeping a few strips for the top. Fill the bread-lined basin with the fruit and some juice, keep some of the juice back for pouring over the pudding once it’s been turned out – it should come almost to the rim. Lay the remaining bread on top of the fruit, tearing and patching where necessary, so no fruit is showing.
Put the basin in a shallow dish or bowl to catch any juice, then lay a flat plate or small tray on top with a heavy weight to squash the fruit down. Some juice may escape, but most will soak into the bread. Leave overnight in the fridge.
Remove the weights, slide a palette knife around the edge, pushing carefully down between bread and basin so as not to tear the bread. Put a plate on top, and then, holding the plate in place, turn quickly upside down and shake firmly to dislodge the pud. It should slide out and sit proud. Serves 6-8.