Baking and desserts seem to go hand in hand, but sometimes your taste-buds are craving a different flavor and texture than that of a perfect pie or a moist slice of cake. That’s where these creamy, light, thoughtful desserts come in. Check out Gayle’s review of Bakeless Sweets and get inspired by this bright pudding. -Amy
Sweets that jiggle, wobble, or shimmy aren’t particularly high on my dessert list. So when I started reading Faith Duran’s Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake, and More No-Bake Desserts, I was a bit skeptical. But Faith, Executive Editor of the Kitchn, won me over in the end.
As the weather (hopefully) starts to heat up, the advantages of a dessert that skips the kitchen-warming oven is obvious. Faith points to the speed and convenience of puddings and more – most of them can be prepared in about 15 minutes and are best made in advance and chilled before serving. How’s that for a low-stress dinner party? These no-bake sweets also use many different sweeteners such as maple, honey, and agave. Combine that with the ability to incorporate ancient grains and the inherent gluten-free nature of many of the recipes and these no-bake desserts might disguise themselves as health food. Well, almost.
Of course, many recipes are decadent: maple-bourbon budino with spiced pecans, salted caramel risotto, peach and sour cream panna cotta. Others hearken from childhood: watermelon-lime jelly (or, what I’d refer to as Jell-O), root beer and cream soda terrine, chocolate peanut butter pretzel bars. Still others are all grown up and sophisticated: champagne jelly with raspberries, coconut ricotta mousse with pistachio and pomegranate, spiced rum and pumpkin truffle.
The recipe I tried was a non-dairy floral fruit pudding. Like most of the pudding recipes in the Bakeless Sweets, it uses egg yolks, which I had in plentiful quantity after several batches of coconut macaroons. This pudding substitutes water for milk/cream for its slurry, gaining it’s weight and texture from a puree of strawberries and raspberries. Thankfully, the recipe is flexible and I was able to make it with frozen berries (still waiting for the summer season that we’re all praying will eventually touch ground). Whenever the sun comes out and seasonal warmth returns, I’ll be armed with a book full of no-oven desserts to get me though until the leaves turn color.
Scarlet Rose and Berry Pudding
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 10 ounces strawberries or mixed berries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 10 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 6 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)
- 1 teaspoon rosewater
- Make a cornstarch and egg yolk slurry: Put the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl (I used a stand mixer) and whisk out any lumps. Slowly pour in 1 cup water, whisking constantly. Whisk in the egg yolks. (To be really sure, reach into the bowl and gently rub out any lumps between your fingers).
- Blend and warm the berries: Puree the strawberries and raspberries with the sugar and lemon juice in a blender until smooth and liquefied. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a 3-quart saucepan. Turn the heat on hight and bring the fruit mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat.
- Temper the slurry: Pour 1 cup of the hot fruit into the bowl with the slurry. Whisk them together. Pour the tempered slurry slowly back into the pan, counting to 10 as you do it and whisking vigorously.
- Thicken the pudding. Turn the heat back on to medium. Bring the pudding to a full boil, whisking frequently; this will take 2 to 5 minutes. Large bubbles will rise up very slowly, making a noise like gloop or plop.
- Simmer for 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Turn off the heat and whisk in the rosewater.
- Chill the pudding: Immediately pour the hot pudding into a shallow container. (If you notice any lumps, you can pour the pudding through a fine-mesh sieve to make it smoother.) Place plastic wrap or buttered wax paper directly on the surface of the pudding to cover it. Put a lid on the dish and refrigerate. Chill for 2 hours, or until completely cold, before eating. Best eaten within 3 days.
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