Slightly exotic, not too heavy desserts?
Lately I've gone to a lot of parties, barbecues, and dinners and lunches at restaurants, and I'm sort of tired of all the desserts I've tried. Flourless chocolate cake, strawberry tart, lemon meringue pie, apple tarte tatin, etc. I have to bring another dessert to a gathering for 8 people this Friday, and I'm looking for something a bit lighter, and kind of out of the ordinary. Any suggestions would be very appreciated!
Here is one that my mom used to make all the time. Chances are that it was cut out of the LA Times or Sunset magazine.
Soda Cracker Pie
For crust, 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 and bake in 325 oven for 30 minutes. When cool, top with sweetened (optional) strawberries, peaches, or any soft fruit in season and top with a layer of whipped cream.
This is adapted from Paula Deen and it feeds about 12-14 people. It's not really exotic, but it's light and creamy and delish. I made it for a cookout and it was a standout. It's so easy too.
3 pkgs of soft lady fingers split
2 8 oz containers mascarpone cheese
1 can of blueberry pie filling
2 cups fresh blueberrie
6 oz. limeade concentrate (or limoncello)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Place blueberries in a large bowl and gently fold canned pie mixture into blueberries and toss. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, add 2 tablespoons of limeade to mascarpone cheese. Whip on medium for approx. 2 minutes.
In another large mixing bowl, beat whip cream for 1 minute. With mixer still running add 1/4 cup powdered sugar slowly. Mix whip cream until soft, not stiff peaks form. With a spatula, mix together whipped cream and mascarpone, set aside.
In a 9 x 13 glass pyrex dish (or similiar), layer lady fingers to cover bottom.
With pastry brush, spread approximately 2 oz of limeade over lady fingers.
Add 1/2 whipped cream, mascarpone on top of lady fingers and spread all over
lady fingers. With a large spoon, place spoonfuls of blueberry mixture and on
top of whipped cream, do not spread. Use about half blueberry mixture, no need for exact
measure on anything for this recipe.
Repeat for a second layer, ending with blueberry mixture. Let sit in refrigerator overnight. Cut into square and garnish with mint.
One very simple dessert I make often is a fruit salad with lemon-cinnamon syrup. It doesn't sound exotic, but most people rave about it and it is different from the usual dairy or flour-based desserts. Basically, you make a simple syrup with 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, a cinnamon stick, and about 3 inches of lemon zest. Simmer 10 minutes, then cool. When cool, remove the cinnamon and lemon. This will make more syrup than you need, but you will want to have more on hand. Cut up some fruit--mangoes, nectarines, plums and strawberries are delicious, then drizzle over a generous amount of syrup. Let it hang out in the fridge for an hour, then stir in some chopped mint just before serving.
First some of the other ideas are very good. A Pavlova is exotic and light and easy.
Here are my ideas: A mousse is light. Creme brule is easy. Strawberries, brown sugar and sour cream... you dip the berry in the brown sugar and sour cream It tastes just like strawberry shortcake. A granita is easy and most people have never had one. Melon wrapped in prosciutto could be considered a dessert. A fool which is fruit puree folded into whipped cream stabilized with gelatin then a little of the whole or sliced macerated fruit on top.
I think I've said this before on Chow, but my favorite summer dessert consists of slicing wheels of peeled oranges, layering them in a single layer on a pretty dish, and sprinkling with a little bit of sugar and a bit of cinnamon. If left for a few minutes, it creates a delicious syrup.
Lately, I've been obsessed with semifreddo.
I started eating it for breakfast (like today), and as a late night snack with my scotch (like last night).
Dunno if it will travel well enough for you to make it to your dinner party, but I just throw it out there for consumption ...
Something with fresh figs? I have this article by Deborah Madison bookmarked http://www.finecooking.com/articles/summer-fig-desserts.aspx - fig tart recipe is there and other fig dessert recipes are in the sidebar . . . not many people eat fresh figs on a regular basis, but I haven't found anyone who hasn't liked 'em. Might be an answer for you?
Panna Cotta with strawberries and balsamic vinegar isn't exactly exotic, but it is light and delicious. I used Greek yogurt and used less balsamic.
Poached pears look gorgeous and are always appreciated. I usually poach them in red wine and sugar with vanilla bean, orange peel and generous black pepper, fill them with a mascarpone/powdered sugar cream, and serve with the reduced wine syrup.
I apologize in advance for recommending two recipes involving lime to you. I don't even know if you like lime! Then again, I don't know anyone who dislikes it, so I guess I'll take my chances. ;D
Something I ~invented~ last summer when I got bored with everything else was lime cake with tangerines and raspberries. Simply add two teaspoons of lime zest to your favorite bundt or pound cake recipe. Let it cool. Then let some sliced up tangerines and fresh raspberries marinate together in a bowl, along with some FRESH lime juice (about a tablespoon, or more if you really want a kick of tartness) and some powdered sugar (I did a little less than 1/4th cup, because my produce was super fresh and from a stand, and had a lot of natural sugar). (If you'd rather, you can do a tablespoon of regular can sugar instead, for a different consistency.) Cover it up in plastic wrap and let it chill for a while.
To serve, pour the fruit mixture over the cake, and drizzle the juices all over it all over. Let it sit for just a bit, so the cake can soak it all up, and it gets a sort of frosted crust. (It tastes so much better than it sounds, that frosted crust part.) Delicious, refreshing, and a touch exotic!
The second recipe I'm recommending is Laura Calder's, from her show French Food at Home. This is Coconut Flan: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...
I made it for the first time yesterday for my husband. I felt bad because I left him by himself last night while I went out to dinner with a friend, lol. It has lime zest, shredded coconut, coconut milk, and some rum, and it's amazing. Okay, maybe it's not exactly the lightest recipe in the world, but if you chill it and only eat a little, your waistline won't really suffer! My husband loved it, and said that it might also be good with grapefruit zest added in, either with the lime or instead of. I might try it at our next dinner party.