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Best Low-Effort Desserts? +Lemon Slice recipe

Hi, I recently learned how to make lemon slice - it's a refrigerated dessert. The most work really involves melting butter. The other amazing thing - it didn't require any weird better-living-through-chemistry type ingredients (and by that I mean Cool Whip). It was really easy to do and can be more or less made with two bowls and a pan. There's no baking, and it's super tasty. It took about 20 minutes to assemble, and then chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cleanup was a breeze.

Do people have other dessert recipes that require no baking and little effort that are nonetheless tasty (and not full of weird ingredients). Lemon Slice recipe follows

Lemon Slice

1/2 cup condensed milk
125g. butter
250g crushed marie biscuits
1 cup dessicated coconut
Zest of 2 lemons

Heat condensed milk and butter until butter melts.
Mix together crushed biscuits, coconut and lemon zest.
Mix together wet and dry ingredients.
Press into a square baking sheet.

1 3/4 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
15g butter, softened
Zest of one lemon

Mix together all ingredients.
Spread on the cookie mixture.

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  1. Here's an old favorite of mine (haven't done it yet this summer but now my mouth is watering). Peel and slice very good ripe peaches in bowls. Top with spoonful of sour cream; grate over the top some dark chocolate and sprinkle with cinnamon.

    1. Mingerspice, where are you located? I've only seen Marie biscuits in South Africa. I'm sure most chowhounders don't know what these are.

      7 Replies
      1. re: cheryl_h

        We have Marie cookies here in Canada; at least in Montreal; I've seen them everywhere. My parents buy them.
        More low-effort desserts please! good idea.

        1. re: cheryl_h

          Marie coookies are in the front of every bodega here in NYC.

          1. re: Ida Red

            I'm amazed this is sold here, I assumed they were uniquely South African. I grew up eating these, the plainest of the plain because I don't like sweet fillings. But they were regarded as low-class because of their plainness. They were also about the least expensive of store-bought biscuits. I recall that if they were served with tea, they were usually buttered.

            1. re: cheryl_h

              I think we have the same thing here - Marie Lu, in the cylindrical packages?

              1. re: Snackish

                I think they were just called Marie biscuits, not Marie Lu. They came in cylindrical packages and were thinnish disks, about 3" across and 1/4" thick. No frosting or frills of any kind. On top Marie was inscribed and there were regular little holes pricked into the surface. Perhaps they were originally British and went throughout the Commonwealth?

          2. re: cheryl_h

            I'm in Australia at the moment. We had Marie biscuits in Malaysia and Singapore when I was growing up too. They are manufactured by Arnotts, which is an Australian company. According to their website, they launched the biscuit in 1922. Arnotts was founded in New South Wales, Australia. I've managed to find Marie biscuits in San Francisco at some Asian grocery stores.

            1. re: cheryl_h

              These are ubiquitous in all Calif groceries. Safeway and Vons! Many brands available in the Latin groceries.

            2. A low-effort dessert I like (but one that is make-ahead, not eat right away) is a no-bake chocolate pot-de-creme using chocolate chips.

              I don't have my usual recipe with me, here's one I googled that's pretty close:

              from http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/recipe_b...

              1 cup chocolate chips
              1 1/2 cups scalded half and half
              2 egg yolks
              3 T brandy, Grand Marnier, or Jack Daniels

              You mix it all in a blender or food processor, pour into small cups and chill several hours or overnight, or if you want it faster you can chill in the freezer for about 1 hour.

              I don't use alcohol in my recipe, and sometimes use instant espresso. Garnish with whipped cream, berries, mint sprig etc.

              1. I'm almost too embarrassed to post this, but you did say low effort.

                Put 2 or 3 egg whites in the stand mixer. Whip 'til foamy, then start adding sugar until it's pretty sweet, beat til glossy and holds firm peaks. Fold in apple sauce. (homemade apple sauce is divine, but that eliminates to low-effort part). Eat.

                If you are worried about raw eggs, of course, don't make this. Also , I wouldn't serve it to guests. But my Mom made it for me and I make it for my husband. I like it alot.

                3 Replies
                1. re: danna

                  Your guests will never be able to figure out the secret ingredient in this easy dessert. Good quality vanilla ice cream, aged balsamic vinegar (there's a thickness to it), sprinkle with chopped pistachoios. Yum!

                  1. re: danna

                    I've always intended to try this, but never have. It's in all the old cookbooks, usually under the name "apple snow."

                    1. re: danna

                      Ooh, this sounds really intriguing. I can't wait to try it.

                    2. Slice orange rounds and lay out prettily on plates.

                      Heat about a cup of raspberries (I use frozen) with some lemon juice and sugar (I think about 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar) and a couple dashes of cinnamon until the raspberries are warm and sugar is dissolved and reduced a bit. Pour over the oranges.

                      1. Here in Maine in late July or early August, I like this one: fresh blueberries and green seedless grapes, tossed gently together, top with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle with brown sugar. Serve cold.
                        You could try plain or vanilla yogurt, also the mint spring is a nice touch.

                        1. My favorite low effort desserts:
                          Cut figs in half. Sprinkle with a little sugar, broil or torch to caramelize, serve with rich yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

                          Key lime chiffon - mix key lime pie filling as usual, fold in whipped cream. Freeze in a spring-form pan that's been buttered then sprinkled with ginger snap crumbs. Thaw somewhat, then slice and serve. Yes, raw eggs.

                          Chocolate fondue - pour boiling heavy cream over chopped chocolate; spike with booze, if desired. Keep warm in fondue pot. Dip fruit.

                          Extremely ripe honeydew. Squeeze of lime.

                          Crushed raspberries. Whiped cream. Fold.

                          Walnuts, crisp apples, cheddar cheese. Eat a bite, then a bite, then a bite.

                          Port. Chocolate. Sip, eat.

                          1. This require no baking, but needs some heat:

                            Chocolate dipped strawberries. It never fails to wow people and it takes almost no effort:

                            melt chocolate (no, don't add cream or corn syrup or anything. just don't. no need) . dip whole strawberries. put on waxpaper covered baking sheet in fridge 'til firm. Prepare to be worshipped. If you insist on wearing fancy pants you could melt some white "chocolate" and drizzle it on the strawberries after the chocolate has set.

                            No heat:

                            Strawberries, sour cream, brown sugar. Can you serve it in three seperate dishes and continue the dipping theme?


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MollyGee

                              One I have yet to try, but sounds excellent for a light dessert; Mint leaves dipped into chocolate. (I suppose one could serve these with something, like ice cream.)

                              I found a recipe from an old cookbook called Strawberries Brule, which is very good, albeit not very pretty (Not something I wouldn't serve to company, buy my family devours it.)

                              Strawberries dipped in sour cream, then brown sugar is very popular in my house. To avoid the mess, I mixed the brown sugar with the sour cream last time--much prefer it that way.

                            2. Not for company, but I like it just for myself. Tastes reasonably decadent and is reasonably healthy as dessert goes.

                              Microwave some frozen raspberries until very warm. Mix in a few chocolate chips (half a dozen seems to do just fine) and dollop on a bit of whipped cream. (I keep a can of good quality whipped cream, which is fine when all I need is a spritz.)

                              I use frozen berries because, for most of the year, they're far better than the fresh ones.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: marcia2

                                What brand of canned whipped cream do you find to be good? I never buy the canned stuff (the few I've tried were yucky and tasted greasy, and I've avoided canned ever since), but this means that I don't often eat whipped cream, since it is a bit of a pain/mess to make my own. It would be great to find a good brand.

                                1. re: mingerspice

                                  I'm not sure of the brand and I'm out at the moment. I buy it at Whole Foods. It's whipped light cream. It's not as good as homemade, but fine for a little shpritz on my raspberries and my 4 yr old likes a bit on his frozen waffles instead of syrup.

                              2. Continuing on the orange theme from above: Oranges in Marsala. It's more yummy than you would expect of a recipe with just three ingredients.

                                Peel and cut one orange per person (I like Valencias), removing all pith, membranes, and seeds. (--What's that fancy word for cutting the orange segments out of the membranes? Do that with the oranges.--) Put orange segments in a bowl and drizzle with sweet marsala. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.


                                1. I don't know if there's a fancy word for the process of cutting the orange that way, but the resulting products are called "supremes". :)

                                  This sounds like a great recipe. I love citrus and walnuts.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mingerspice

                                    Yes, You can say "I'm going to supreme an orange".

                                    1. re: Ida Red

                                      Yup, that's the word I was trying to remember! From now on, I think I'll sing "Where Did Our Love Go" or "Stop! In the Name of Love" when I'm cutting my oranges, to help me remember the word.


                                  2. Cake made by layering chocolate wafers and whipped cream, then letting it sit in the fridge. The recipe's on the wafer package. I can't remember the brand.

                                    1. Do oreos count as "any weird better-living-through-chemistry type ingredients?" Anyway, my grandma always makes a dessert that I luh-ove! She takes crushed up oreos (she might mix these with a little butter to make them stick better) and presses those in a pan to make a crust, covers with vanilla ice cream (it's usually about 1-1/2" thick,) and then does another crust layer of crushed up oreos. She then drizzles this with warm caramel sauce before serving! So simple, yet so good!

                                      1. back in the 70's every local street fair and celebration had a booth selling ripe canteloupe halves filled with a scoop of the best local vanilla ice cream, Burnardoz'. So good!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                          My mom does this with a cheesecake mixture... It's probably the consistency of a pudding and she just spoons it over canteloupe wedges. I was going to post that originally, but I'm not sure what all is in the cheesecake mixture.

                                        2. Very good vanilla ice cream topped with ripe mango mushed into a fine puree. Then a chocolate curl or two shaved off fine bittersweet.

                                          Very good vanilla ice cream with Taster's Choice coffee mixed in, leaving crystals of coffe unmixed for that coffee burst. Stick a couple Pirouette cookies in the top and another chocolate curl or two.