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Light desserts that are assembled rather than cooked and are pretty :) ?

Im making a somewhat labor intensive cake for a friends baby shower next week. Since im also doing drinks and decorations, I am trying to think of a light and pretty finger foodish dessert. My mind went to bananas. I'm sort of talking myself out of it now, knowing go hard it can be to find bananas at the right ripeness when I need them: BUT, thought I could cut up some bananas with something else, stick a toothpick in it and voila! Dessert, assembled rather than made .

I should mention there will be some other fruit salad in the pre dessert part of the party.

The other dessert is crazy chocolate-y so looking for something that isnt ├╝ber sweeT- again, talking myself out or bananas...:)

Any assembled, not cooked desserts that are somewhat light and good looking "recipes" welcome!

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. Haven't made these for a long time, but used to use chunks of bananas, rolled in sour cream, then rolled in shredded coconut. They may sound odd, but are really delicious. They can also be used on a small bamboo skewer with a whole strawberry and a chunk of melon... a plate of these fruit skewers are pretty and festive, garnished with a bouquet of fresh mint and a few daisies.

    1 Reply
    1. re: critter101

      that sounds beautiful! i am a huge fan of sour cream and coconut.

      Unfortunately, one of the other desserts I am making is a sour cream chocolate chip coffee cake (smitten kitchens)! so the two together may be sour cream overload!!

      I may use the mint/ daisy garnish idea regardless, though. Thanks!

    2. Maybe too much chocolate, but what about ripe strawberries and grapes dipped in bittersweet chocolate?

      1 Reply
      1. re: 4Snisl

        Too much chocolate? Not possible!

      2. Since there is already cake and fruit, how about a cheese plate? Include some dates, apricots, nuts. And a drizzle of honey.

        1. Strawberries with sweetened whipped cream. You can add whatever flavoring you think would be good!

          Or, strawberries dusted with dark brown sugar, topped with heavy cream.

          1. i agree with firecooked - a cheese plate is always a welcome addition to the party...particularly when the menu is heavy on the sweets. and it provides an option for people who don't want the sugary stuff.

            2 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Ghealthgormet- I would prefer to do cheese but i think i am the one who will enjoy that most of this particular crowd. Out of curiosity, what are your go-to dessert cheeses?

              Other dishes being served: scones, ricotta crostini with figs and honey, fruit salad of some sort, veggie salad of some sort.

              Just found recipe for blueberry and pretzel clusters cocered with chocolate. May do white chocolate and see if it's prettier. Love that sweet salty combo, plus she's a big pretzel fan.

              1. re: arugala

                ah, i was avoiding chocolate suggestions since you mentioned something "crazy chocolate-y" in your OP, but my first thoughts had actually been white and dark chocolate-dipped pretzels (either rods or braids), and truffles served in mini foil cups.

                i'm a cheese freak, and i happen to love the strong & stinky varieties. but when serving to a group i tend to stick with milder ones as they're potentially less "offensive" to some ;) i like to serve a range of cheeses with flavors from sweet to sharp/savory (usually a few different milk types), and a variety of textures (creamy, semi-soft and hard).

            2. You've already got fruit salad, chocolate cake, and coffee cake. I don't think you need more.

              Sea-glass jello: http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/08/03/... This is firm enough to be finger food. I would use sweetened coconut milk. There's also a thing where you hollow out orange halves, set them on a muffin tin to hold them steady, then fill with different colors of jello that has been prepared using less than the full 2 cups of water. Once chilled, slice into wedges. I would add canned mandarin orange segments to the halves as they chill.

              1. My first thought was this one - it is essentially layers of a white chocolate mouse and a lemon mouse with strawberries (i've done it with other berries). It can be done in a trifle dish or in individual servings (I order individual plastic shot glasses essentially) - it looks great, is very light, and I use it often.


                My second thought after reading the other posts - what about doing chocolate dipped bananas rolled in different things (nuts, coconut, etc). I love those and if you do 1/2 bananas they are very manageable for adults - kind of retro and when I make them they are always gone.

                1. if you happen to see ripe strawberries -- dip these in sour cream then brown sugar...

                  another fruit and easy thought -- apple wedges dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon, then roasted... or cored whole apples filled with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon (raisin, nuts, oats optional), placed in a baking dish with diet 7up or apple juice and baked.

                  simpler yet, frozen sugar dusted grapes.

                  or tuiles/florentines -- light and easy to make (ahead).

                  1. Puff pastry sheets cut to fit cupcake tins bake 8-12 mins into cup holders.
                    Fill with mousse or whipped cream and dotted with fresh fruit.
                    or filled with ganache and topped with berries.
                    or filled with lemon curd and violets.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: HillJ

                      This sounds good but Mama to be does not care for creamy textures, which is usually where my mind goes to for "light" in texture and possibly sugar, not fat.

                      1. re: arugala

                        I see. The pastry cups can be filled with mini chips and fresh fruit. But plenty of creamy recipes can be made with lower fat dairy too. Like a Greek yogurt and fruit.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I think this is a great idea. You can even buy the cups to save a step. Here's a good recipe, although it might be creamy:


                          It could also just be topped w/ fresh fruit and whipped cream for a pretty presentation.

                          Or mix bananas, nutella and almonds and put in cups, baking is optional:


                    2. Strawberry and/or other fruit trifle.

                      1. Buy a Sara Lee pound cake or a prepared angel cake at your locak market and cut it into small cubes. Layer the pound cake cubes with fresh whipped cream or Cool Whip and your favorite berries or sliced bananas (dipped in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. You can also buy packaged pudding or custard and add that as anothe layer. This is a trifle. The British have been making these for ages using custard and fruit. The more layers you make the prettier the dessert.

                        My favorite is to use homemade or jarred lemon curd. Layer that over pound cake cubes, sprinkled with fresh blueberries, whipped cream and then another layer of cake, curd, berries and whipped cream. You can add one cup of freshly whipped cream or Cool Whip to each jar of curd before adding to the bowl but still add one layer of whipping cream as an individual layer.

                        If you're an Oreo lover, you can crush about three packs of Oreos and create this masterpiece.
                        The layers are in this order...
                        Oreos, whipped cream or Cool Whip, chocolate mousse or pudding, Oreos, whipped cream, mousse or pudding, whipped cream and a sprinke of crushed oreos on top.

                        1. In my experience, bananas slide right off a toothpick.

                          Have you ever made dried apple slices? Slice very thin on a mandoline, bake on cookie sheets lined w/ parchment at about 175 degrees for a couple of hours. The apples will start to curl up on the edges and look a bit like flowers. You could pipe sweetened goat cheese or cream cheese in the middle, then top with whatever you think looks pretty. A raspberry and a sprig of thyme, maybe?

                          1. How about just a fruit tray? Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple chunks...

                            no cooking at all...definitely finger food...and neither chocolate nor creamy.