Serving this traditional English dessert in a glass pedestal bowl shows off its impressive layers of ladyfingers, pudding, and colorful fruits. If you don't have one, a regular glass bowl will also do the trick.
To make the fillings, prepare the pudding according to the package directions and chill it.
Slice the strawberries, if you're using them, then toss all of the berries with the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release their juices.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip the cream, vanilla extract, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
To make the layers, set a layer of ladyfingers (around 7 or 8) on the bottom of a large, clear serving bowl (ours was 4 quarts). Top with the berries with half of the pudding.
Add another layer of ladyfingers, another third of the berries and juice, and the rest of the pudding. Add a final layer of ladyfingers and berries. Top with the whipped cream and a berry garnish.
Refrigerate until you're ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.