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what's your favourite easy dessert?

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I'm doing lunch for family on Sunday and I'm making Jamie Oliver's Pork Goulash.

I will be out the night before and I'm baking all day saturday for the evening - so I am trying to think of an easy make ahead dessert.

Normally my favourite desserts are apple based eg, apple tart, apple cake, apple frangipane tart etc.

All I can think of in the make ahead category is Tiramisu! But I don't want to make that as it's a bit rich and there will be 2 kids eating. I don't like cheesecake so won't be making that.

Any suggestions? I don't like a traditional dark chocolate mousse so that's off the cards too.

It's still a bit early for summer fruits here. My usual dessert is brownies but I have made them so many times...

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  1. I know I have probably posted this before. But it is a quick and easy way to make a dessert the day before.

    http://www.chow.com/recipes/28023-mex...

    1 Reply
    1. re: boyzoma

      Oops - should have said that I'm in london so we don't have that kind of packaged stuff! Thanks anyway...

    2. - frozen chocolate-dipped bananas
      - chocolate-dipped pretzel rods and dried fruit
      - trifle
      - pudding
      - blondies instead of your standard brownies
      ETA: since i just noticed you said you like apple desserts, how about apple-cinamon bread pudding? you can either make it in a large dish or individual servings.

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Do you have a recipe for the C.A. pudding? Sounds interesting.

        1. re: kookiegoddess

          oh goodness, i haven't made bread pudding in AGES. i definitely liked this Bon Appétit recipe with some tweaks:
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          from what i recall, i used cinnamon-raisin bread, doubled the cinnamon, used *evaporated* (not condensed) 2% milk instead of the 1% milk, and brown sugar instead of white.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I vote for the Bread Pudding..so simple and yet so versatile...add fruit, spices..good warm or cold....

      2. chocolate dipped strawberries. easy, pretty and simple.

        1. When I need a stylish dessert fast, but don't want to take the time to bake, I make a pound cake trifle.

          If you can find premade pound cake on your grocer's or baker's shelves, it's so easy. Basically you just cut up the cake into squares, and fill a trifle dish with layers of cake, a layer of pudding or whipped cream, and fresh fruit. There are a lot of possibilities for flavors, depending upon what you can find and what season. Strawberries & cream, raspberries and chocolate, lemon and blueberries, tropical fruits like kiwi and mango with coconut, you get the picture.

          And brushing the cake with a lemon syrup, or some other liquid to moisten first is a key part. One recipe I've used called for Grand Marnier, but I doubt you want that with 2 children eating it.

          And you can also do the same dessert with brownies, and use chocolate pudding and ripe raspberries, and garnish with mint, it is lovely and delicious.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phurstluv

            + 1 on the trifle; it's one of my favorite go to desserts..you can use any kind of cake, fillings and fruits and you really can't go wrong.

            Another thing I like to do is make an ice cream pie; get a cookie crust (store bought or make it yourself) fill it halfway with ice cream, add a filling like fruit or cookie crumbs, etc. Top with a second layer of ice cream, maybe some whipped cream and put in freezer for a few hours. Garnish when it's time to serve.

            I usually keep some pastry cream in my fridge for quick desserts. You could whip up a parfait, trifle, tiramisu; use it to stuff eclairs, add to fillo cups etc in no time.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Yes, trifle. It's worth buying a pretty trifle dish (with high glass sides and maybe standing on a stem) because anything you put in it looks spectacular and can be assembled in five minutes. Any layered combination of cake or ladyfingers, pudding, whipped cream, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, bananas, mixed fruit etc---you can top it artfully with coconut or toasted sliced almonds or chocolate shot or bits of glace' fruit---can sprinkle the cake with rum or liqueur---and the result is always gorgeous. Also you can use the same dish for layered salads (light green lettuce, dark green spinach, tomatoes,shredded carrots etc---the beauty is in the variety of colors and textures visible through sides of dish).

            2. One of my favorite desserts for the spring and summer is fresh oranges with cinnamon. You just peel and slice oranges into beautiful wheels, lay them out on a pretty platter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Delicious! I've made it ahead of time, then covered and refrigerated it with no bad effects (in fact, the juice and sugar turn into a bit of a syrup. Yum!).
              Enjoy your lunch!

              2 Replies
              1. re: egging

                I love doing that. I usually skip the sugar and use orange blossom water. It's so lovely.

                1. re: Vetter

                  Ooh--I'll have to try the orange blossom water. Sounds delightful.

              2. I think that this has come up before, and I think my answer will remain the same.
                I love flan- any kind and I think it's super easy to make. Another favorite is, crazy coconut pie (its a egg based, not crust like coconut yummy thing) and then I also think ice cream is pretty easy, the machine does it all for you. I like to make vanilla and serve cookies or a cooked fruit sauce with it. OH and how could I forget? Banana pudding! Always a hit with my all boy family, they devour it. Okay they're not fancy, but you had the word "easy' in the question! And I agree with phurzluv with the berries being beautiful now, I'd probably make a shortcake, or poundcake and berry dish as well.

                Thanks for the thread, Father's Day is coming up, and too need to start a plan.

                1. Key lime pie!! Even if you can't get key limes it's pretty yummy with regular limes. It takes 10 minutes to make and its so impressive. If you have an extra 5 minutes you could make a raspberry coulis to drizzle on the plate. Sprinkle with a afew fresh raspberries too and you are right over the top!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: julesincoq

                    Only ten minutes?? Does that include making the crust? And how about the meringue? I've never made one, but have some key lime juice in a bottle in my fridge and would be interested in how you make this. Thanks!

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      10 minutes if you buy the crust but really... a graham cracker crust only takes a few minutes anyway. Key lime pie is a can of sweetened condensed milk, eggs, lime zest and lime juice. Bake. Done. No meringue on key lime. I will see if I can find a link for you. I was shocked at how easy it is...I actually looked for a more complicated recipe thinking it would be better but there is no other way to make it that I can find.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        Here you go

                        http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                        I add a little lime zest too as I like it pretty limey

                        1. re: julesincoq

                          Didn't know it was normally a graham cracker crust and no meringue, I don't eat the stuff (key lime pie, that is).

                          Thanks for the link, maybe I'll make it this weekend, I'll bet my kids will inhale it.

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            the issue of meringue vs whipped cream vs no topping is debatable - it really depends on preference...i personally like mine (or used to, when i could eat it!) naked or with just a small dollop of whipped cream. but the graham crust is not negotiable :)

                    2. What about chocolate mousse cake?

                      http://www.chow.com/recipes/11244-cho...

                      1. Is rhubarb available yet where you are? I love strawberry rhubarb crisps. or is that too tart for the kids?

                        I'm also a big fan of lemon bars...

                        1. I posted this on another dessert thread. It is simply the easiest pie you'll ever make and tastes pretty good too. Topped with real whipped cream, it's easy to make and lighter than many pies and other desserts.

                          http://www.jandatri.com/go/arizona_su...

                          1. warm duncan hines brownie with cold ice cream.

                            1. Creme caramel, only made with maple syrup instead of the caramelised sugar. And it's pretty light, just milk, sugar and eggs.

                              1. My favorite easy dessert is key lime pie. It takes 15 minutes to cook in the oven, 5 minutes of prep time and 2 hours of cooling time. That's it. It uses four ingredients including the graham cracker pie shell that I buy. Of course it would be better with a home made graham cracker crust.

                                I can't emphasize enough that raspberry sauce on top makes it even better!

                                Here is the recipe:

                                KEY LIME PIE

                                1 EA 9” graham cracker pie shell
                                1 EA 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
                                3 EA egg yokes (whites not used)
                                ½ cup key lime juice (I use Nellie & Joes brand)

                                Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
                                Combine milk, eggs and lime juice.
                                Blend until smooth
                                Pour filling into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.
                                Let cool on a baking rack for at least 10 minutes before refrigerating.
                                Just before serving, top with whipped cream.

                                Variations:

                                Put lime or orange zest in whipped cream.
                                Serve with raspberry sauce (recipe below) (I highly recommend this option.)
                                Triple the recipe and put in spring form pan
                                Garnish with lime slices or maybe sugared lime slices

                                Raspberry Sauce:

                                1 pint raspberries
                                ¼ cup sugar
                                3 ounces water
                                1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
                                2 tbls lemon juice

                                In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the raspberries, water, sugar, cream of tartar, and lemon juice. Stir the sauce to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook the sauce until it comes to a slight boil. Then remove the saucepan from the heat and add the contents to a blender. (I ust use an immersion stick blender.) Blend the sauce until smooth. Pass the sauce through a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any seeds.
                                Pour into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate.

                                Variations:

                                Add 1-2 tbls of orange or raspberry liqueur.
                                For thicker sauce, add ½ cup seedless raspberry jam.
                                (I do both, usually with orange liqueur.)

                                1. A trifle is easy. Here is a link to a Mix and Match recipe for a trifle.

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7064...

                                  1. ok thanks for all the replies:

                                    I had planned to do Black bottom cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen website as they could be served cold,
                                    BUT
                                    I baked all day today then rushed to a party then rushed home to change then rushed to another party....
                                    and we just got back and we have a little leftover cake so I think that's what I'll be serving tmw!
                                    I really like the idea of key lime pie tho so must try that next time I have people over.
                                    I also want to plug the cakes I made today - the CI billowy chocolate cake - oh, man, the frosting, LIKE PUDDIN! mmmm and also the Ina Garten Orange Choc chip cake - the most popular at the party and so beautifully moist and flavorsome. Delivers the perfect chocolate hit without being too rich. Time for bed, it's 1 am here and I have to cook again in the morning!