ISO Very Berry dessert
Helping a friend stoke the fire of a new romance. :) He's cooking dinner for her for the first time on Thursday and she's bringing dessert. She dosn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen so she's a little inexperinced. Need simple AND delicious. He likes berries. Whatcha got?
Pavlova was exactly what I was thinking - with an unsweetened freshly whipped cream and the best, most fragrant strawberries she can find. Pavlova is actually quite easy, and she'll look like a star for making her own meringue. (Just warn her to keep the bowl in which she's beating the eggwhites very clean and free of fat/oil.)
Watch the weather too. Meringues are more finicky when it's humid. (As it will be here on Thursday with storms forecast.)
A good crisp sounds great. Or a strawberry shortcake with a simple biscuit with butter, the best strawberries and some whipped cream.
If you want a recipe for a good and easy one, let me know.
I resoundingly second the advice about the weather. I live in San Francisco and although I am a very confident and experienced cook, I never undertake meringue when it is for guests or an event because the odds of it going wrong are very high.
Depending on her level of confidence with pie dough, how about a berry galette? They are simple if the crust isn't intimidating.
Or, for truly simple how about just tossing some fresh berries with a little cassis and serving them over good vanilla ice cream.
Please use real butter.
There's also those free form berry pie type deals. Are they Italian? I don't know the name, but it's basically a free for pie where you form the pie crust or dough around the berries.
I'd do a berry crisp though. SOOO simple. Again, use real butter. Maybe get some ultra rich vanilla bean ice cream to go with it.
Also, I've been seeing and eating some REALLY good strawberries from Cali this year. Chocolate covered strawberries? Super simple, and in season, too.
Hell, do both. If you wanna stroke the proverbial fire, berry crisp for dessert, and chocolate covered strawberries for a quick snack in the fridge for um.. later.
Double Berry Crisp
Make the "berry" easiest crisp you may ever made! Cake mix and pie filling are the secret helps. But add fresh berries too!
1 package Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1/2 C. butter or margarine, melted
1/2 C. chopped nuts, if desired
1 can (21 oz.) cherry or strawberry pie filling
1 can (21 oz.) blueberry pie filling
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Ice cream, if desired
Heat oven to 350ºF. Stir cake mix, butter and nuts in large bowl until crumbly; set aside. Spoon pie fillings randomly in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, without mixing them together. Sprinkle lemon juice over fillings. Sprinkle cake mix mixture evenly over fruit. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream.
Here's a summer pudding that cooks the berries:
1 unsliced rectangular loaf of brioche or good-quality firm white bread such as Pullman (1 pound), crusts discarded
4 cups blueberries (1 pound)
5 cups raspberries (18 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cut out a 3-inch round from 1 slice and put in bottom of bowl. Line side of bowl with 10 slices, overlapping them slightly.
Bring berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries collapse and release their juices, about 8 minutes. Spoon fruit into a sieve set over a bowl and let drain 15 minutes. Spoon drained fruit into bread-lined bowl (reserve juices) and cover completely with remaining bread, cutting bread to fit.
Pour juices evenly over bread, making sure all bread is saturated. Cover pudding directly with a piece of wax paper and place a 7-inch plate, upside down, on top of paper. Put a 1- to 1 1/2-pound weight (such as a large can) on plate and chill at least 8 hours.
Remove weight, plate, and wax paper and invert platter over bowl, then invert bowl onto platter. Carefully unmold.