You don't have to know how to bake to be remembered for making a fine summer dessert. Just make summer pudding, which requires no more cooking than a brief heating.
It's a total mystery why this delicious English specialty has never been popular in this country. Its convenience doesn't stop with the fact that it requires no baking. You can remold it, rechill it and serve it up to four days later, and it will still taste good.
And it's good for you. In 19th Century England it was called hydropathic pudding and was often served to invalids, because it is almost fat-free and easily digested.
I think raspberries make the best summer pudding, but lots of people love blueberries instead. Somehow, strawberries just aren't right.
This pudding holds its shape and is easy to slice. It is sometimes served with unsweetened heavy whipping cream.
8 to 9 slices firm, fresh white bread trimmed of crusts
6 cups fresh raspberries or other berries, stemmed
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
Line 1-quart bowl or Charlotte mold completely with slices of bread. Fill in cracks with pieces of bread trimmed to fit, so inside of bowl is completely covered. Save enough bread to cover top.
Put berries in skillet and add sugar to taste. Cook briefly over medium-low heat, stirring gently to dissolve sugar and get berry juices flowing. Pour berries and juice into bread-lined bowl. Cover top with remaining bread slices.
Place saucer or salad plate on top and gently press down. Put weight on plate (28-ounce can of tomatoes works well) while pudding is settling and chilling. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, turn onto platter. Makes 6 servings.
Each serving contains about:
308 calories; 272 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 69 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.88 gram fiber.