This dessert is as English as they come. It's a slightly odd combination of juicy summer berries and bread, but it works, and its enduring popularity is testament to that.
150 g (5 1/2 oz/ 2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
250 g (9 oz) cherries, pitted
250 g (9 oz) strawberries, hulled and halved, or quartered if large
125 g (4 1/2 oz) blackberries
125 g (4 1/2 oz) blueberries
250 g (9 oz) unsliced fruit loaf from a bakery, or panettone
300 g (10 1/2 oz) thick (double/heavy) cream
1 tablespoon Cointreau, Grand Marnier or brandy
1. Combine the sugar and vanilla bean and seeds with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cherries and berries, increase the heat to medium-low and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the berries just soften but still retain their shape.
2. Gently pour the fruit mixture into a large sieve set over a bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. Discard the vanilla bean.
3. Grease an 875 ml (30 fl oz/3 1/2 cup) pudding basin with a little oil. Slice the fruit bread or panettone into 1 cm (½ inch) thick slices. Briefly dip a slice of bread in the juices to lightly soak both sides, then place in the pudding basin to begin lining the side. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, cutting them to fit the basin, and reserving a couple of slices for the top of the pudding.
4. Spoon the fruit into the bowl and top with the remaining slices of bread. Drizzle with any remaining juices. Cover with plastic wrap and then place a small plate, just large enough to fit inside the pudding basin, on top. Place an unopened tin of food on top to weigh it down. Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
5. Place the cream and Cointreau, Grand Marnier or brandy in a bowl and gently fold to combine (don't overmix or it will become too thick). Unmould the pudding onto a plate and serve with the flavoured cream.