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Dessert Ideas

We are having friends over this weekend for the fourth weekend in a row.  I'm getting tapped out of dinner/dessert ideas and since it's the same couple (they're helping us with some projects), I don't want to repeat.

What are your tried and true favorite dessert ideas?

Can't be too complicated.  With 2 small kids, and a lot going on I regrettably do not have time to get OVERLY involved.  So that eliminates making my own puff pastry (although I used to love doing that).  Making ahead is fine--so is day of.  Doesn't matter.

We only have a mini fridge.  And it's PACKED.  So preferably nothing large that needs refrigeration.

I am almost 'caked' out, two birthdays in this past month.  Made 2 from scratch cakes w/buttercream so if I did a cake would want something different.

We've had:
Chocolate cake (from my friend)
Banana/toffee pie (from my friend)
and an Oreo freezer bar thingy.
So obviously doesn't need to be TOO fancy.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
Strawberry shortcake is fast and easy and it's the season for strawberries. Or make your own banana splits is also fun.
Apr. 30th, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)
DIY sundaes are good. So is chocolate fondue (seems complicated, but it's basically warm chocolate sauce and a bunch of stuff you just cut into the right size, like sponge cake, marshmallows, and fruit). You can give the kids a little bowl of sauce and they can go to it.
Apr. 30th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
I double this recipe and make it in a cake or pie pan for our family of 6. So delicious, and it literally only takes the 15 minutes stated in the description. I crush my graham crackers in a ziploc bag by rolling a heavy can or rolling pin over it, but that's the method my mom taught me and it saves dirtying the pastry cutter or food processor! I've also successfully used chocolate chips and decreased the sugar slightly to avoid going out to the store to get baking chocolate.
Apr. 30th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
Panna cotta ... it's a fast make ahead and you can fancy it up by making a chocolate, caramel or dulce de leche version or add a fruit coulis/puree layer or just add fresh berries to the panna cotta before it sets. The basic recipe I use is here.

For the gelee version/recipe, go here.

I also liked a crunchy accompaniment like a biscuit or a cookie. For a fancy cookie, I made florentines.
Apr. 30th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
Cream puffs. Ridiculously simple but not something most people have very often. You can even make it ahead if you pierce the shells as soon at they come out to release trapped steam - otherwise they will collapse.

And you can fill them with pretty much anything.

Apr. 30th, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
I totally forgot about those. As long as you save filling them until just before serving, you shouldn't have any problems. I have an easy recipe posted here.
Apr. 30th, 2014 10:19 pm (UTC)
bread pudding! Stale bread, eggs, milk or cream, as much sugar as you think necessary, toss in some spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, whatever you have) and maybe some raisins. Bake it and serve it room temp.
Apr. 30th, 2014 11:11 pm (UTC)
Cookies. Whatever kind you like. Tart them up with frosting either homemade or store bought.
Apr. 30th, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC)
meringues - made ahead, and served with fresh fruit and whipped cream

or use store bought
May. 1st, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)

Seriously, super easy to make, the only thing you have to watch is the sugar, as it can get super sweet, super quick:


5C whole milk
1C heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1C sugar
1/4C cocoa powder
1/4 corn starch
1/8tsp salt
10oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (70% -85% cocoa - the darker the better imo)

1) combine all ingredients EXCEPT chopped chocolate in pan over medium heat, stirring constantly 3-4 minutes.
2) Add chopped chocolate and stir constantly 10-15 minutes.
3) pudding is done when you can lift the whisk and it leaves a faint impression (pretty much like making a cheese sauce, tbh)
4) strain the pudding through a sieve or use a cheesecloth rubber-banded over a find mesh strainer (because improvisation is key in cooking)(*koff*), Push through with rubber spatula.
5) cool 10 minutes then cover pudding with plastic wrap (to prevent skin forming) and chill in fridge.
6) this pudding is very intense
7) my 6 yo can't take more than 2 tsp of it, and chocolate is his very favoritest thing in the world to eat besides mashed potato, cheese, and strawberries.
8) recipe from PUDDIN', Clio Goodman, Chronicle bks 9780812994193 (Sorry, I work in a bookstore< i can't help it)
9) this book is AWESOME

Or, Creme Anglaise/ English custard over sliced fresh fruit/fresh berries. It's super easy to make, btw, and you can freeze it to make ice cream.

Cranachan: lightly toasted pinhead oats mixed with whipped cream to which a tablespoon or two of whisky has been added. Dollop over fresh fruit.

May. 1st, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
Somebody else mentioned strawberry shortcake, but my favorite in-a-pinch dessert is frozen poundcake, frozen strawberries, and either ice cream or whipped cream. It's tasty and easy to assemble, and if you have freezer space, you can make it on a moment's notice. (I know you said you only had a mini fridge, but technically that doesn't rule out a separate freezer, so I thought I'd throw this out there anyway.)
May. 1st, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)
Chocolate mousse. You can never go wrong with light fluffy mousse :D
Just make sure you don't over-beat/fold and it's so easy.
May. 1st, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
Pineapple upside-down cake - a definite winner in this household, it always makes the hubby's eyes light up! And there's never any left when I make it, plus it's so quick to put together.

29g butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
440g tin pineapple rings in natural juice
90g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
125g self-raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4. Grease your cake tin (it recommends a 20cm ring tin, but I don't bother with ring tins, I don't have one, and besides, who wants a hole in the middle of their cake?! Instead I use a fab one which has a push out bottom, it makes de-caking a tin so much easier!). Pour the melted butter in the bottom of the tin, and tip it to coat it evenly. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, drain the pineapple, reserving 80ml (1/3rd cup) of the juice. Cut the pineapple rings in half and arrange over the sugar. You'll probably have some left over pineapple – I generally do, so I pop it in the fridge to nom with some cheese at a later point.

Beat the 90g of butter with the caster sugar either with an electric beater or by hand until it's all light and creamy and fluffy. Gradually add the egg to it, beating it with each addition. Add the vanilla essence, and then fold in the flour and pineapple juice bit by bit, with a metal spoon.

Spoon the mix over the pineapple and even it out. Pop into the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer/knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out. At this point the recipe tells me to turn it out onto a wire rack to cool, but I can assure you, it's far better when it's turned onto a plate and served hot! It's really lovely with custard, or ice-cream or cream, but just as delicious when eaten by itself.

Variation on a theme

I've experimented making this with fresh mango instead of pineapple, and instead of the juice I've added some raspberries into the cake mix and whizzed with a hand blender, which was too much liquid. It made a fab pudding rather than cake! If you want to try it, (the flavours of mango and raspberry are amazing together) I'd recommend either you purée the raspberries beforehand and add a 1/3rd cup of that instead, or the same amount of raspberry coulis. I've also tried fresh mango and rose syrup instead of the pineapple juice in the sponge, and while it's lovely, the rose flavour deserves something more subtle, so sometime I intend to make a more delicate version of this with rose petals instead of fruit, and rose syrup in the cake mix - I'm guessing you could make a rather lovely strawberry version of this too.
May. 1st, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
Have you tried brownies? I know you said you were all caked out, but these look quick and easy:

Similar to these, which turned out really well when I made 'em with silken tofu. I haven't had a chance to make them with eggs yet, so I don't know if the two eggs given in the recipe will have the same effect. Note: I ended up doubling the recipe for enough brownies to serve 12.

Edited at 2014-05-01 11:17 pm (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2014 04:25 am (UTC)
Caked out, huh? I'm thinking something with fruit in it. Is anything coming into season where you're at? If so, I'd find a recipe for making that fruit delicious.

How about a fruit crumble? Or a pie? Strawberry shortcake has already been mentioned, and that's a good idea too.
May. 2nd, 2014 07:06 am (UTC)
Fourth weekend in a row? Give yourself a break. Make it simple.

It's spring. Buy some fresh whatever in the market - strawberries, rhubarb, oranges, pears, whatever. Slice them up, give them a brief simmer with some sugar to make a compote, and serve them in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream or ladyfingers or a meringue cookie.

Even simpler: cheese plate. Get good cheeses and nuts, maybe one or two perfect berries. Arrange on platter with simple nonsweet crackers and perhaps some good honey to drizzle over goat cheese. That's it.
May. 2nd, 2014 06:30 pm (UTC)
It's the lack of fridge that can be an issue, I recommend this peach cobbler recipe and I don't use fresh peaches (cause they cost a fortune) and use tinned (3)

Gooey Peach Cobbler

Peach Filling:
12 to 14 ripe medium-size peaches, peeled and sliced
2tbs granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients. Set the filling aside to draw out the juices. The filling should be a bit juicier than that of most pies. While the pie sits melt the butter in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, either in the oven or on the stove. Now make the batter.

Stir together the flour, sugar and baking powder; add milk. Mix until lightly blended. Spoon the mixture evenly over the melted butter. DO NOT STIR.

Pour the peach filling evenly over the batter. Bake for 45 minutes. As the cobbler bakes, the batter will ooze up and around the fruit, creating a moist, golden brown crust.

Serve the cobbler warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. -
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


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