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All about EASY desserts to impress


Ce'nedra
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So I'm not much of a cake baker, or anything sweet really but I figured if I want to hold my own dinner party one day, I'd better think of a good dessert!

There's a catch though: I like to keep it relatively simple or at least, EASY to make. It must also be impressive (this simply translates as delicious).

Therefore, I'm turning to eG! Everyone is full of ideas :)

I'll start...

I'm thinking serving shortbread, probably my favourite 'sweet' in the world, with crushed raspberries mixed with sour cream, pouring cream and icing sugar. I'd imagine homemade shortbread would be the preferred option but if I'm feeling lazy, well...

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Ahh that is another of my favs -thanks for the reminder!

I'll do a search for it.

Do you serve it drizzled with evaporated milk? I adore it that way.

When we make it, we use almost 100% cream for the liquid (just barely enough water to bloom the gelatin), so I think evaporated milk might push it over that fine line between rich and sickening for us. :biggrin:

I love evaporated milk, though. Thai people like stale bread, shaved ice, and evaporated milk (and flavoured syrup sometimes). Kind of like halo halo. I prefer it without the stale bread...More like halo halo but without all that weird corn and stuff (I'm half Flip, half Thai, so I take the best from both worlds :biggrin: ).

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I'm a big believer in fresh fruit, enhanced in various ways to turn it into more of a presentation-worthy dessert. One easy dessert that tends to get great feedback is macerated fruit with flavored whipped cream. So for example you have some great mixed berries, you mix those with a little sugar, Grand Marnier, vanilla extract and citrus zest (fresh yuzu is nice if you can get it) before dinner and set the bowl in the refrigerator. In an iSi cream whipper, combine heavy cream with a little of those same flavorings. Serve coupes of the fruit topped with the whipped cream. You can do gold leaf or whatever if you're really determined to impress.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Kerry Beal: Trifles are looveellyy. What exactly are jelly rolls though?

prasantrin: Ahh I was thinking of the Chinese mango puddings you get served at Yum Cha/Dim Sum. Those are almost always served with evaporated milk (I like plenty of it!). Is your version similar to the Chinese-style?

On the Chinese episode of Food Safari, another version of mango pudding (the typically Chinese way maybe? Not sure as various yum cha establishments make it differently) was made. No evaporated milk drizzled over this time but there was a gooey centre...YUM.

Check the recipe and video included here

http://www.sbs.com.au/food/foodsafarirecip...n/Mango_pudding

Abra: I've never heard of clementines until now! Thanks for the heads up; that cake looks scrumptious! Not sure if I can find hazelnut oil. Is it worth the effort?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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I'm a big believer in fresh fruit, enhanced in various ways to turn it into more of a presentation-worthy dessert. One easy dessert that tends to get great feedback is macerated fruit with flavored whipped cream. So for example you have some great mixed berries, you mix those with a little sugar, Grand Marnier, vanilla extract and citrus zest (fresh yuzu is nice if you can get it) before dinner and set the bowl in the refrigerator. In an iSi cream whipper, combine heavy cream with a little of those same flavorings. Serve coupes of the fruit topped with the whipped cream. You can do gold leaf or whatever if you're really determined to impress.

I live in a household that stays true to 'fresh fruit' religion too. In fact, and I suppose this is an Asian thing, our 'desserts' are pretty much always fruit. No cakes, no tarts, nothing of that sort (of course that does change when my parents aren't home).

Your idea is great (and is along the lines of something I was pondering about when suggesting the shortbread with raspberry cream).

Btw, what's an iSi whipper?

Oh and the only thing I'm a little concerned about is how can I serve this 'neatly' for my guests?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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The iSi whippers are a super-easy way to make flavored whipped creams as well as all manner of foams. They've become standard in restaurant kitchens, at least in Western ones. Here's what one looks like. You can also just put the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk or electric mixer, but the iSi reduces the effort to just about zero and makes for nice presentation when you squirt the whipped cream over the individual portions of fruit.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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How about a fruit crisp? The classic is apple, but pretty much any fruit can be used.

Apple crisp:

Slice or medium dice apples, sautee in butter & brown sugar with some cinnamon and / or nutmeg until still firm, but cooked. Top with crisp topping in bake 20-30 minutes at 350* until topping is browned and...crisp!

Topping: I usually make a big batch and keep the extra in the freezer and use as I need it.

1 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped nuts - I usually use almonds or walnuts (optional)

1 stick butter

1 tsp cinnamon

work all ingredients together until it is in pea-sized lumps.

Change the cinnamon to other appropriate spices if using other fruits.

Top with some good vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

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Here is a picture of a jelly roll. You can buy them in most grocery stores here in Canada. I wait until I find stale ones being sold clearance and put them in the freezer.

I realize above - I forgot to mention soaking the jelly roll with some sherry mixed with juice.

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Fat Guy: Ahh those. I'll probably have to settle with my electric mixer...for now. Not only am I a poor student, but I'm saving money for my o'seas trip so that'll have to wait (and damn it to the recession!).

Do you prefer to have the fruits & cream served in small individual dishes for everyone or in a single large bowl with people spooning portions onto their plates?

LizD518: Mmm crispppp! Sorry I just like that word.

What kind of texture am I looking at for the topping?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Here is a picture of a jelly roll.  You can buy them in most grocery stores here in Canada.  I wait until I find stale ones being sold clearance and put them in the freezer. 

I realize above - I forgot to mention soaking the jelly roll with some sherry mixed with juice.

Ohhh you mean JAM rolls! :raz:

I always get confused with how jelly is used interchangeably with jam hahhaha.

Which juice is preferable?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Fried bananas (with a few raspberries), topped with chocolate ganache and raspberry sauce (made from raspberry jam, butter and Chambord). A little sour cream on the side for those who wish...or you can put the ganache, the sauce and the sour cream on the side all...or heck, why not add a dish of caramelized cacao nibs. Sorry...I'm getting carried away with my own enthusiasms...not impressive but so delicious. :wub:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Do you prefer to have the fruits & cream served in small individual dishes for everyone or in a single large bowl with people spooning portions onto their plates?

Definitely small individual dishes. Allows for more orderly serving.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Roasted fruit.

The simplest and maybe the best thing I ever serve. My favorite is pears, with a butterscotch pan sauce.

Put a bunch of halved pears (peeled and cored) in a roasting pan with chunks of butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar. Roast on medium high heat until soft, and until the drippings and sugar have caramelized on the bottom of the pan.

Put the pan on the stove top, set aside the pears, and crank the heat. Deglaze the drippings with cream. If you like, finish with a bit of cognac or poirre william. strain.

Serve each guest a pear half plated with a small pool of the sauce. So good!

Notes from the underbelly

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Along the same lines as the macerated fruit, strawberries macerated in a little balsamic vinegar, marsala (or something along the same lines as marsala) and sugar, and then spoon over slightly softened vanilla ice cream. If you macerate the fruit long enough, you get even more juice to drizzle over everything. It's fabulous. And couldn't be easier.

And in fact, if you macerate either frozen or those godawful massive rock-hard "fresh" strawberries found in the produce section of nearly every supermarket on the planet, they end up tasting a lot like lovely ripened-on-the-vine strawberries.

Edited by devlin (log)
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Here is a picture of a jelly roll.  You can buy them in most grocery stores here in Canada.  I wait until I find stale ones being sold clearance and put them in the freezer. 

I realize above - I forgot to mention soaking the jelly roll with some sherry mixed with juice.

Ohhh you mean JAM rolls! :raz:

I always get confused with how jelly is used interchangeably with jam hahhaha.

Which juice is preferable?

I usually use apple.

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Roasted fruit.

The simplest and maybe the best thing I ever serve. My favorite is pears, with a butterscotch pan sauce.

Put a bunch of halved pears (peeled and cored) in a roasting pan with chunks of butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar. Roast on medium high heat until soft, and until the drippings and sugar have caramelized on the bottom of the pan.

Put the pan on the stove top, set aside the pears, and crank the heat. Deglaze the drippings with cream. If you like, finish with a bit of cognac or poirre william. strain.

Serve each guest a pear half plated with a small pool of the sauce. So good!

Could you do that with the ripe bananas (forgot to say ripe in my post). That would be simpler than pan frying...

Thanks.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Roasted fruit.

The simplest and maybe the best thing I ever serve. My favorite is pears, with a butterscotch pan sauce.

Put a bunch of halved pears (peeled and cored) in a roasting pan with chunks of butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar. Roast on medium high heat until soft, and until the drippings and sugar have caramelized on the bottom of the pan.

Put the pan on the stove top, set aside the pears, and crank the heat. Deglaze the drippings with cream. If you like, finish with a bit of cognac or poirre william. strain.

Serve each guest a pear half plated with a small pool of the sauce. So good!

Could you do that with the ripe bananas (forgot to say ripe in my post). That would be simpler than pan frying...

Thanks.

I haven't tried it, but I believe it's traditional. And delicious. Would probably roast much faster than pears, since bananas are already soft. I'd try using a very hot oven.

Notes from the underbelly

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Roasted fruit.

The simplest and maybe the best thing I ever serve. My favorite is pears, with a butterscotch pan sauce.

Put a bunch of halved pears (peeled and cored) in a roasting pan with chunks of butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar. Roast on medium high heat until soft, and until the drippings and sugar have caramelized on the bottom of the pan.

Put the pan on the stove top, set aside the pears, and crank the heat. Deglaze the drippings with cream. If you like, finish with a bit of cognac or poirre william. strain.

Serve each guest a pear half plated with a small pool of the sauce. So good!

Could you do that with the ripe bananas (forgot to say ripe in my post). That would be simpler than pan frying...

Thanks.

I haven't tried it, but I believe it's traditional. And delicious. Would probably roast much faster than pears, since bananas are already soft. I'd try using a very hot oven.

Shall try it this weekend...if...the big if...I can find any bananas ripe enough to use. This town has only 2 grocery stores...and besides it always seems that all the stores either have rock hard bananas or bananas starting to be too ripe and at the same time. Thanks. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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