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Awesome pot luck dessert idea using fruit for cooking club?

Main Line Tracey May 13, 2009 07:26 PM

Hello! I have a cooking club meeting next week and signed up to make a dessert. The theme is fruit and so all dishes should use fruit.

I am totally not a dessert person, so I am freaking out a bit. I love eating desserts, but rarely make them.

Any suggestions for an impressive dessert that uses fruit, but is not too terribly difficult to make?

  1. t
    tiramasue May 14, 2009 01:57 PM



    I would just take all the parts (shell, whipped cream, cut up fruit) separate and assemble there, so it's doesn't get soggy.

    1. d
      Diane in Bexley May 14, 2009 11:46 AM

      A fruit crostata (essentially free form pie) would be my choice. If you can't or don't want to make the crust, you can use some Pillsbury already made crusts. Ina Garten has a terrific recipe in one of her cookbooks for a plum/peach crostata. Crostata is more like a method than a recipe for a specific type.

      Essentially it is a large circle of pie crust (9-11 in) on which you place fruit filling, pinch over edges and bake on UNRIMMED cookie sheet (so you can slide off, very easy). You could make 3-4 of them for supper club for 30 people, using a variety of fruits. I have seen lots of blackberries in Costco, perhaps with blueberries and raspberries. You could use frozen sliced peaches (great combo with blueberries), frozen sweet or sour cherries, apples (sprinkle some almonds on for crunch). The combos are endless.

      1. Ima Wurdibitsch May 14, 2009 11:25 AM

        I make two bread puddings that always get rave reviews.

        Both follow a standard bread pudding recipe but in one (instead of raisins) I use cranberries and top with an amaretto sauce. The other one uses mandarin oranges (regular would be fine), instead of raisins and top it with a Gran Marnier sauce.

        I never have any leftovers to bring home.

        1. tcamp May 14, 2009 11:14 AM

          I'm not a dessert person either so anything I do make, is by definition easy.

          That said, I suggest Soda Cracker Pie. I think my mom got it out of Sunset magazine in the 1970s.

          Make a crust, as follows, then top with fruit (berries or peaches work well) and whipped cream. Sweeten the fruit lightly if you prefer.

          3 egg whites, beaten stiff. Add 1 cup sugar (the amount can be reduced) and 1 tsp vanilla. Roll 16 double soda crackers fine but not too fine. Add 1/2 tsp baking powder. Fold in egg mixture. Add 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped. Butter a 9X9 pan (or a round pan if you prefer) and bake in 325 oven for 30 minutes.

          1. l
            laliz May 14, 2009 10:21 AM


            GRAPE SALAD
            (EASY AND DELICIOUS)

            4 Lbs Seedless grapes (red, green, or combination),
            washed, dried, and removed from stems.
            8 Oz Cream cheese, softened
            1 Cup Sour cream
            1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
            1/2 tsp vanilla
            1 Cup Chopped walnuts or pecans

            Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well. Add grapes and coat with mixture. Spread into a 9” x 13” pan or dish and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours before serving.

            ** I use Thompson seedless red grapes**

            MAKE THIS

            1. greygarious May 14, 2009 08:18 AM

              Here's a link to a sophisticated fruit compote - I forgot to mention that sometimes I also include a few drops of almond extract.


              1. c
                cimui May 14, 2009 07:43 AM

                lemon or orange mascarpone mousse, served in chocolate cups if you want to get fancy. prep time is about 15 minutes at most with an electric mixer. you need to chill it for a few hours, but no longer than 10-12 hours, or the mousse starts to break down and become watery. better dessert makers than me might be able to tell you how to stabilize the mousse more effectively.

                1. m
                  Main Line Tracey May 14, 2009 06:08 AM

                  Thanks for all the great replies and ideas. I had thought of a trifle, but don't have the correct bowl for it. Strawberry shortcake was another thought because it's so popular, but how to do it for 30 people? Individual shortcakes?
                  I had also thought of cherry cheese cake "cupcakes" that my mom used to make. They were always popular, but not really cooking club material.
                  I just don't know....

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Main Line Tracey
                    Pia May 14, 2009 06:32 AM

                    Here's a recipe for shortcake with individual biscuits:

                    Or you can really use any sweet biscuit. Just bake 2 batches of biscuits, slice up the strawberries, whip some cream, and you can assemble when you get there.

                    1. re: Main Line Tracey
                      jenhen2 May 14, 2009 07:18 AM

                      Cooks Illustrated has an AMAZING recipe for strawberry pie. You could make 2 of them, and they're pretty easy. It's a graham cracker crust and then fresh strawberries in a kind of jello-like sauce (but it sets up so you can slice it), and then covered in whipped cream. It's really easy and delish. I can paraphrase the recipe with more detail if it sounds interesting to you.

                    2. chowser May 14, 2009 05:03 AM

                      Tres Leches cake w/ a side of cut berries and whipped cream

                      strawberrry shortcake

                      some kind of fruit cobbler w/ ice cream--I like peach but they're hard to get right now

                      1. l
                        Lynndsey Rigberg May 13, 2009 10:49 PM

                        My vote is for Trifle too....except for the homemade vanilla cream or pudding, everything else is easy to make. Always impresses, so delicious. Joy of Cooking has a very solid, reliable recipe. Also, I think it doesn't hurt to do take a shortcut - buy very good bakery pound cake - but I guess that would defeat the purpose of cooking club. Well, keep that shortcut in your backpocket the next time you want to make trifle for a party. I promise you no one notices!

                        1. David A. Goldfarb May 13, 2009 08:49 PM

                          Blackberries are cheap and plentiful right now. I made some blackberry clafoutis that were simple and delicious a few days ago.

                          1. chef chicklet May 13, 2009 08:14 PM

                            Crepes, are the best, and you can make the crepes in advance and assemple there. Or you can make a dish of say, lemon cream crepes The fillings you could make if you want to make them at the time are endless; nutella, apple, pear, peach, strawberries with grand marnier, grapes, oh the list goes on. They are so easy to make, and so delicious. Make a nice Creme Anglaise, or make a whipped cream for the fruit and or chocolate.

                            1. goodhealthgourmet May 13, 2009 07:54 PM

                              my first thoughts:
                              - poached fruit - alwayscooking beat me to that one ;)
                              - chocolate-dipped fresh or dried fruit
                              - frozen banana chunks dipped in chocolate & rolled in chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, cookie crumbs, etc.
                              - sorbet
                              - fruit salad with dressing
                              some other ideas in here...


                              1. todao May 13, 2009 07:47 PM

                                Fresh pineapple is in season; at least it's available here at good prices.
                                Peel, core and cut pineapple into rings about two - four inches tall. Cut out the center (core) area to facilitate filling with chunks of mango, cherries, papaya, fresh or shredded coconut (that's had a soak in milk or water, then drained) and a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream melting over the top. Top with mint leaf.
                                Maybe use the coconut as a base upon which to perch the rest of the recipe.
                                Use a spray bottle to spray slices of pound cake with brandy, rum, etc. and sprinkle with sugar. Cut into strips and line a bowl with these. Press into place so they don't move. Spread cake pieces with ground almonds and fill the remainder of the cavity with mixed fruit (strawberries, blue berries, whatever you have available) mixed with whipped cream. Cool in fridge for at least six hours (covered) then remove from fridge, invert to unmold, slice and serve.

                                1. alwayscooking May 13, 2009 07:45 PM

                                  Three thoughts

                                  - Trifle - layers of fruit, pound/sponge cake and cream anglais
                                  - Poached pears in red wine with a cream anglais
                                  - Molten chocolate cake or souffle with raspberry sauce

                                  All are very impressive, tasty, and extremely easy (and some ingredients can even be purchased).

                                  Recipes on request.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alwayscooking
                                    Morganna May 14, 2009 11:01 AM

                                    I second trifle. Makes a great pot luck dessert. :)

                                  2. s
                                    salsailsa May 13, 2009 07:32 PM

                                    Fruit pizza is fun and tasty!

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