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Aug 14, 2008 11:58 AM

challenge: make dessert without equipment

every year I spend an entire weekend cooking for my family at our summer house. Previously I've been able to make the desserts (pie, tart, cake, etc.) at home and transport there since we have no equipment (processor or mixers). now i've moved and desserts won't transport well on the airplane, so any recipe suggestions that are simple to make?

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  1. I do the same thing for about ten days each summer - coming up soon this year! One of my favorites is some kind of crisp - you don't need any special equipment, and usually fruit is great this time of year. Do you have a hand mixer? If so that might easily fit in a suit case, and then you could make chocolate chips cookies etc., whip cream/eggs for meringues .... I tend to try to keep desserts simple, as I'm usually making a lot for the rest of the meal. Also, even at home, I make brownies without any equipment. This year though, my stepmother has bought a full sized FP, so I'm not going to have to tinker around with a mini one!

    1. I live in an electric equipment free home (no blender, food processer, mixer) and don't ever have any problems making desserts. I use a pastry blender for mixing pastry dough (I think it's about $5) and a wisk for mixing things (that including making homemade whipped cream). But if you don't have pie plates or tart pans you can always make strawberry shortcakes. Either buy the shells or angel food cake from the store and use fresh berries. You could also make biscuits using bisquick mix for the shortcake instead.

      1. Often my fiance gets a sweet tooth late at night when I have no desserts on hand, am not about to go bake something and stores/restaurants/cafes are not open. Thus, the following two "recipes" have been born out of that. lol These aren't rocket science but they're pretty tasty in a REAL pinch.

        Sweet cream or vanilla ice cream drizzled in honey with sunflower seeds (this one's a little odd, I know, but good!)

        Fiance made this one up out of random things in the cupboard:
        Put Grapenuts cereal in a bowl and add just the tiniest amount of milk (to dampen) and top with canned peaches (fresh, obviously would be ideal, but work with what ya got! LOL) sprinkle with some cinnamon (no sugar as ours were canned and we think already very sweet even though it wasn't heavy syrup). Microwaved until warm and topped with vanilla ice cream (if available). A pretty decent substitution for peach cobbler in a bind.

        Good suggestions otherwise so far- good luck! :D

        1. Oh... this one's been around a long time too... and I assume you will have an oven and cookie sheet? Get the canned cresent roll dough from the refrigerator section and lay it all out flat to make a pizza crust. Usually I just cover the bottom of a cookie sheet. I poke holes in it all over the top and bake until crisp (at the temp the dough container recommends). Let cool completely then top with cream cheese and fruit (or veggies if you want a snack). You can also top with ricotta and fruit and a drizzle of honey. My mom used to do this all the time when we were kids.

          1. This is my go to chocolate cake recipe. I've doubled it and turned it into a layer cake, and it also makes great cupcakes.

            Serves 8
            Preparation time for cake: 6 minutes
            Baking time: 30 minutes
            Preparation time for glaze: 15 minutes
            Chilling time (if using glaze) 30 minutes
            Equipment: 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan, 2-cup measuring cup, double boiler

            Cake Ingredients
            1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
            ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
            1 teaspoon baking soda
            ½ teaspoon salt
            1 cup sugar
            ½ cup vegetable oil
            1 cup cold water or coffee
            2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
            2 tablespoons cider vinegar

            Preheat the oven to 375º.

            Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda, salt, and sugar directly into the cake pan. In the measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, cold water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter as the baking soda and vinegar react. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

            Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and set aside to cool.

            To make the optional glaze, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, microwave oven, or reset the oven to 300º and melt the chocolate in the oven for about 15 minutes in a small ovenproof bowl or heavy skillet. Stir the hot water and vanilla into the melted chocolate until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Refrigerate the glazed cake for at least 30 minutes before serving.

            I've used it numerous times and everyone loves it. One of my friends, a former pastry chef, waxed on about these for two weeks.

            Ganache frosting would also probably be your friend. It is easy to fix and I've never had anyone complain.

            I also make my pie crusts by hand, The Pie Cookbook has a butter/shortening crust that always turns out well for me.