These are molded bread puddings. Bread is layered in a bowl, cooked fruit poured in, bread is layered over, then the whole mess is weighted overnight. It’s quite tasty and worth the effort. The finished dish can inspire some oohs and aahs. It can be made with most summer fruits; berries are, in fact, traditional. You need bread that is soft and pliable, hence white bread is commonly used. To make this with whole grain bread, use what’s called sandwich bread, it’s softer and more doughy than many whole grain breads.
3 lbs plums
3/4 c sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 c water
2 T lemon juice
9 slices sandwich bread, or as needed
whipped cream, sour cream, yogurt, crème fraîche, for serving
1. Halve plums to pit, then cut into quarters. Put into a saucepan along with sugar, spices, water and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is saucy, but the plums have not fallen apart. Remove from heat.
2. A bowl, about 6-cup capacity, more or less, is needed. Cut the crusts off the bread slices. Line the bottom and sides with the slices, cutting as needed to fit and overlapping so there are no spaces between the slices.
3. Reserve 1/4 cup of the plum mixture. Refrigerate. Spoon the plums into the bread-lined bowl. Cover with more crustless slices. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the bread and secure down the sides of the bowl. Lay a plate or pan on top of pudding. It must fit inside the bowl. Put a heavy object on the plate so it weighs the pudding down. Refrigerate for about 8 hours (overnight, as they say).
4. Remove from fridge and remove weight, plate, and plastic wrap. Run a knife around the inside of the bowl and invert onto a rimmed dish (to catch any juices). If there are areas of the bread that did not become soaked with the plum mixture, use the reserved plum mixture to cover these areas, or not.
5. Serve with desired topping.