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HELP a horrible baker for Easter dessert

So I want to make a simple, elegant and most of all delicious dessert for Easter - but I really cannot bake fancy things. I can make decent cookies & brownies from scratch, but other than that I'm SOL.

Please help and give me suggestions on something that I can make that is super impressive but hot horribly difficult. I have NO idea how to make pie crusts / pastry / biscuit dough and I don't have a stand mixer. I have a handheld one though :)

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  1. How about a meringue, that you make overnight in the oven with the oven turned off! All you do is beat egg white - it's so easy. Then top with sliced fresh fruit, like berries, and whipped cream. I'll send a recipe if you're interested or I'm sure there are lots on the internet. It is foolproof.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Susan627

      I've tried this before. I don't know what happened, but they came out a little... chewy. Maybe it was the weather that day. Also, I don't have a piping bag or tips, and I don't think meringue looks great unless I can pipe them down.

      Would definitely try this idea again, just don't want to for the occasion in case I mess it up.

      1. re: jessicatl

        Jessicatl - just FYI, I am super lazy and make it all in a baking pan! Then just cut it like big brownie squares. Usually when I make this I have so much going on I wouldn't want to mess with a pastry bag, etc.

        1. re: Susan627

          Or just pile it up on a piece of parchment in the middle of a baking sheet, hollow out the center like a bowl, bake it, and fill with fresh fruit and whipped cream = Pavlova!
          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

    2. What about a trifle? There are so many variations of them and they're so pretty. You can use a variety of cakes, home made or not, even brownies. The custard is easy to make and nothing beats fresh fruit and strawberries are just coming into season, depending on where you live. I've never done the one w/ brownies, heath toffee bits, pudding and whipped cream but everyone I know who has had it has raved about it. I prefer the traditional strawberries and sponge cake.

      Other easy ones that look good--panna cotta (make individual servings in little glasses, top w/ fruit) or lemon mousse. There's a good one cimui posted here for meyer lemon mascarpone mousse that is excellent.

      6 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I agree with the trifle idea; it's one of my go to desserts because of the many variations that can be done with it like Chowser said. Another thing I always bring up is Ina Garten's Lime Meringue tart. The pastry is easy to make and everything else is super easy also. Best part of that is that you can make it a day or two ahead.

        1. re: chowser

          Was going to suggest Trifle as well, as it's really not possible to screw it up :-) Maybe use pound cake or angel food cake or even ladyfingers. Sprinkle your cake/cookie selection with Cointreau or Limoncello. Layer in some custard and whatever fruits are fresh near you; Layer layer then finish with whipped cream and shaved white chocolate and mint... You could also do individual ones in parfait glasses.

          1. re: chowser

            ...or Italian trifle... Tiramisu. You don't have to actually bake anything with Trifles, and everyone loves them. Or you could poach some fruit and serve it in pretty bowls with lime sabayon.

            1. re: ChefJune

              Yes, it would bother purists but I think of tiramisu as another type of trifle, just as I do w/ the brownies one. I love the idea of a lime sabayon one. I'll have to try it this summer w/ good fresh fruit. I don't know why it never occurred to me to do a citrus one. Sounds perfect.

              1. re: chowser

                i thought about tiramisu, but for some reason, was thinking kids were involved, and the alcohol taste not being so palatable nor... appropriate... but a great idea if kids aren't involved :-)

              2. re: ChefJune

                I like the poached fruit idea. I have a poached pear recipe from Chocolatier magazine that is really great. You combine white wine, sugar and water, bring to a simmer, then add peeled, cored Bosc pears, and poach them till they are tender. Serve with chocolate sauce (chocolate and whipping cream) - you gotta have chocolate at Easter. The original recipe is complicated, using chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and mascarpone sauce, but I keep it simple.

                I hear that the poaching liquid can be later used to make a sorbet.

            2. Do you have a microwave to melt chocolate or a double boiler or a bowl you can set in simmering water? If so, make oreo truffles (google it...) but roll them into egg shapes rather than balls. When the chocolate is dry, pipe on some store bought decorative icings, etc and you've got cute little truffle eggs. adam

              1. How about dipping things in chocolate? Strawberry, pretzels, dried fruit, cookies, marshmallows.
                I would totally dip Peeps for Easter. :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: funniduck

                  Too late! THere are chocolate-covered peeps available this year.

                2. I was going to suggest this tart:
                  http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/...

                  You can press the dough into muffin tins to make small tarts, or even cook it in a pie pan. We liked it equally well without the port glaze, so you could leave that out, too.

                  Although, when I saw the suggestions for trifle I thought shoot! That's a better (or maybe I should say *easier*) idea! My mom would layer store-bought angel food cake with berries and vanilla pudding--always a hit in the spring!