This recipe for Summer Pudding originated in England, where the word pudding means dessert. Perfect for summer, it's full of ripe berries plentiful this time of year and, best of all, doesn't require any baking.
Kids love to take part in the preparations. Let them help with steps appropriate to their skills and abilities.In a saucepan, combine 6 cups of mixed fresh or frozen berries without syrup such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until berries release their juices. Remove from heat and strain berries with a sieve placed over a bowl, reserving the juice.
Line the inside of a 1-quart bowl with plastic wrap. Remove crust from 16 slices of firm white bread without preservatives, then cut each slice into 4 triangles. Dip each triangle into the berry juice, covering it completely, then arrange in a continuous pattern around the inside of the bowl to create a pinwheel effect. Fill any gaps with more bread. Save several triangles for the next step.
Fill the bread-lined bowl almost to the top with the drained berries. Place a single layer of the remaining bread on top of the berries to create a cover. Fill any gaps with bread pieces. Pour remaining juice evenly over the top.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap. On top of the wrap set a small plate that fits inside the bowl. On top of the plate, place a heavy can of food to provide weight.
When ready to serve, remove the can, plate and plastic wrap and carefully turn the molded pudding onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic-wrap liner. Slice into wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if you wish.