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Make ahead dessert for two

I"m working Saturday. My husband wants to make Valentine's dinner which is great. He's traveling all this week though and gets home very late tomorrow night(actually Sat AM) so I thought I'd make a dessert for us tomorrow night so he wouldn't have to to worry about that.

I"ve been buried in reading in school and feeling uninspired. Would love some suggestions on a make ahead dessert for two. Chocolate desserts and cheesecake need not apply. Extra points for lemon, particularly meyer lemon since I still have several on my tree.

I was thinking about a mini lemon meringue pie but have never made those ahead and don't know how the meringue will hold and if it will weep in fridge overnight?

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  1. You could make floating islands - you can make all the components ahead of time, and you could flavor the creme anglaise with Meyer Lemon juice.

    1. In a similar vein to MM Ruth's post, here is a link to Lemon Curd Pudding.

      If you like the taste of lemon meringue, you'll love this recipe. It is very very easy to make, has great flavor and keeps well refrigerated.

      Although this recipe has been around for decades (Yes, it is that good), I am linking to Paula Deen's site because it has a nice picture. If you want it more lemony, you can add more lemon zest than called for. Up to you.


      2 Replies
      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        Also similar--lemon sponge. My mom makes it all the time from a recipe from her mom (Nanny would be 90 if she were here today). It's one of those old school recipes that calls for "butter the size of an egg." Really yummy, very simple. I can ask my mom for the specific ingredients if this interests anyone.

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          We had guests over for dinner Sunday (Rack of lamb for the entree) and I decided to make the Lemon Curd Pudding for dessert because I thought it would be a good match.

          Instead of one large pudding, I used 8 individual glass pyrex custard cups/ramekins, not the smallest size. Mine hold about 3/4 cup. I put them on a bakling sheet after filling and added only about 1/4 inch of boiling water after I put them in the oven.

          They came out perfectly - looking and tasting, like a light lemon meringue pie without the crust. I garnished with a little whipped cream and a handful of fresh raspberries. My guests ate every bite and my husband wants me to make it again when his family comes to dinner.

          I hadn't made this recipe in years, but it's back on my good list.

        2. I would suggest an angel food cake with berries and ice cream or an apple pie. I have also made pears poached in wine which have gone over very well. Just make sure to bring to room temp before you serve them.

          1. You can make a sponge cake and lemon sauce or curd ahead of time. Serve both with fresh berries.

            I also make lemon-coconut bars. Not sure if that's what you're looking for though

            1. You can do a deconstructed lemon meringue pie - which isn't any more work than the pie I think.

              Make slow-cooked meringues in ramekins (I have used Thomas Kellers recipe), make lemon curd ahead of time, and either use pre-made puff pastry, filo dough, or make pie dough. Cut rounds out of the puff pastry or make filo nests by removing the paper cover from the filo, rerolling and slicing in ribbons - toss, spray or toss with a bit of melted butter and sugar, and bake until light brown. Or cut small rounds of pie dough - all will keep baked just fine in an airtight container. Stack crust, lemon curd and top with meringue right before serving - looks fancy, but not too difficult to do.

              1. I make a great ice cream in brownies, not very gourmet, but damn tasty ... store bought brownies and ice cream and some additionals make it very very decadent. Also a chocolate mousse is great and holds up well. pannacotta is great. A fresh chocolate gremolatta (ok, sp???) sorry. I also make a champagne glass with a fresh angle food cake, some fresh raspberry preserves laced with amaretto, marscapone and amaretto, topped with fresh chocolate, raspberries and topping ... It is a bit different, very decadent but very over the counter ... but still GREAT! I get rave reviews. More so then my chocolate mousse from scratch.

                1. Lemon Ice-Box Pie. Too easy, no cooking involved (unless you choose to do a meringue).

                  Three eggs (room temperature and separated)
                  One-half cup of lemon juice (fresh is best)
                  One teaspoon grated lemon rind
                  One can of condensed milk

                  Beat the egg yolks well.
                  Add lemon juice and grated rind.
                  Add milk.
                  Mix well.
                  Pour into a vanilla wafer crumb.

                  For a simple pie edge adornment, press wafers into pie around the edge of the pie pan.

                  Top with meringue and brown or use a whipped topping garnished with a lemon slice. Since you're making it ahead and as you know, meringue tends to sweat when refrigerated, I'd go with the whipped topping which would go well with the creaminess of the pie.

                  The lemon will "cook" the eggs which will thicken the filling. Refrigerate serveral hours before serving to "set" the filling.

                  Vanilla wafer crust for 9" pie pan:

                  1 1/3 c. vanilla wafer crumbs
                  1/4 c. sugar (optional)
                  1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. butter, melted

                  Mix and press into pie pan. Chill until set.

                  1. Almond cakes baked in muffin cups served with raspberry puree and chocolate topping.
                    May sound a bit involved but it's quick (five minutes to mix, ten minutes to bake) and easy.
                    Dump 1/4 cup of almonds in food processor and process to flour texture, add 1/4 cup AP flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon BP and pulse once or twice. Remove to bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 tsp milk or cream, one large egg (beaten) a splash of rum, vodka, or liquer of your choice (Amaretto is nice) and pour muffin cups about half full of the batter. Bake 350 degrees about 10 - 12 minutes. Serve warm with raspberry puree and chocolate drizzle.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: todao

                      I am lucky this year. My sweetheart is making duck confit for us this year. I thought I'd make a small dessert. Am thinking almond too: baked pears with almond paste and some kind of sauce.

                      1. re: karykat

                        I make baked in a light brown sugar glaze and then stuffed with walnuts and gorgonzola and cream cheese and then drizzled with a bourbon raspberry sauce. It is decadent but very good.

                        That won a desert contest a few years back

                        1. re: karykat

                          I liked how my dessert turned out. It was a combination of recipes. I made a streusel mixture from a recipe for a pear streusel. It had almond paste, brown sugar, some butter and flour so it made kind of a paste. I cut the pears in half and cored them Took a melon baller and made little balls of the almond paste mixture and put that in the core. Put some apple cider and a bit of maple syrup in the bottom of the pan (an idea from Claudia Fleming) and baked. I thought it was great. The pears were soft and flavorful and I liked the almond paste mixture. (Found out in doing this though that SO hates almond paste. So this will be a recipe just for me in the future.)

                      2. ICE CREAM SUNDAES

                        Pre purchase all of the material, and have fun assembling.

                        1. If you have an ice cream maker, this lemon-blackberry swirl ice cream is divine, and definitely make-ahead. For my mom's birthday I made a simple blackberry upside-down cake to serve with, but it really doesn't need anything else. Refreshing but decadent, and definitely make-ahead!


                          1. Here's one of the easiest desserts which knocks the socks off people. I've made it dozens of times and people go crazy for it. BTW, the French call this Pain Perdu.

                            Buy about 1/4 loaf of brioche (serves about 2-3 people)--challah if you can find brioche. Slice it 3/4 inch thick, and soak it in creme anglaise (about 1 cup) for about 30-45 minutes. Fry the bread in about 2 tablespoons of butter in a non-stick saute pan for about 3 mins per side on a medium-low flame. Drizzle bread with about 2-3 tablespoons of creme anglaise and serve with a nice Sauternes or coffee. Very little work--assuming you know how to make creme anglaise--and your husband will think you went to immense troubles by how good it is.

                            1. Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone. So many good ideas!

                              I thikn I"m going to go iwith a lemon custard cake recipe I saw in BA this afternoon that indicates it works well to make ahead. I'm definitely bookmarking this for some other ideas though.