This fabulous pudding is from my new book, The Cook's Garden. It's a terrific one for the "down-under" Christmas table because not only are berries and currants in season, but it's served cold, which makes sense on a hot summer day. Start the preparation a day before serving.
Wash and destalk fruit. Put into a shallow pan with the sugar. Heat gently until sugar dissolves and juices are running — do not cook beyond this stage.
Put a colander over a basin and tip the fruit into it. Trim crusts from bread. Dip each slice into the reserved fruit juices. Line a 750 ml (1½ pint) pudding basin with the bread, easing pieces together and filling gaps with triangular shaped slices. Half-fill the lined basin with drained fruit. Cover fruit with one layer of dipped bread, then fill with remaining fruit. Cover the top with bread, tucking in neatly to the edges of the basin.
Put a plate that fits inside the bowl on top of the bread and weight it lightly. Leave overnight in the refrigerator, reserving any leftover juice.
To serve: remove plate and tip pudding onto a serving platter, pouring over the reserved juice.
Serve with thick cream.