From simple to rather more complicated, very light to rather naughty, dessert is just one of those hard-to-resist facts of life. In fact, I know many people, of the female variety, it must be confessed, who would rather skip the meal and get to the dessert. We won’t suggest you go that far here, but perhaps just give you some new-to-you recipe ideas for those finishing touches to a great meal.
1. PEACHES WITH CHERRY SAUCE (Serves 4)
1 large can of peaches 1 medium can of cherries Juice of one big lemon 1 teaspoon of cornflour 2 tablespoons of apple jelly
Drain the peach juice into a bowl, add the cherry juice, lemon juice and blend in the cornflour, no lumps. Arrange your peaches on a serving dish. Put the juice mixture, along with the apple jelly, into a saucepan and stir it all together over a low heat until you have a thick, clear sauce. Smell the flavors! Next, add the cherries, stir them in well and pour this over the peaches. Serve at once with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream. Imagine hot and cold, creamy and fruity, all in one dish.
2. RICE AND BANANA CRISP (Serves 4)
1 large can of creamed rice pudding 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar 1-2 tablespoons of sultanas 2 large sliced bananas
Empty the can of rice pudding into an oven dish, stir in the sultanas (if desired), then heat on a low oven Gas Mark 3 (160C or 325F) for about 15 minutes. Take out and arrange the banana slices all over the top, then sprinkle on the brown sugar and place under a low grill heat until the sugar is all bubbling. As it cools, it will crisp and again, what a great combination of textures and flavors you have here, quick and easy, a good warm winter dessert.
3. FAST STRAWBERRY MOUSSE (Serves 4-6)
A strawberry jelly (powder or cubes will do) 1/2 pint of hot water 1/3 pint of fresh strawberries, crushed up 1-2 tablespoons of sugar 3 egg whites, whisked stiffly.
Put the crushed strawberries into a large bowl. In a jug, make up your jelly with the very hot, almost boiling water, then pour it over the fruit. Let it cool till it starts to set a little, but not completely. Into the fridge for around 30-45 minutes should do it, but check it so that it does not solidify. Whisk the eggs meanwhile, till they are stiff enough to form peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Carefully fold this into your strawberry jelly mixture, then spoon into serving glasses, adding a few strawberries on top for decoration. Keep chilled till ready to serve. You could serve with thin, crisp sweet biscuits of your choice or maybe brandy snaps. For variation, you can use raspberry jelly and crushed raspberries, orange jelly with canned, drained mandarins and serve with orange chocolate thins. Yummy, all of them and quite easy to prepare.
4. FRUIT CRUMBLE AND CUSTARD SAUCE: (Serves 4)
Before giving you this recipe, I have to say it is one of my very favorite desserts, mainly because it is so easy to make that I have never got it wrong over many years. But more important, it tastes delicious and lends itself to many fruit variations. I love fresh Victoria plums or rhubarb, but you can use apple, blackberries, cherries, fresh pineapple or peach, whatever takes your fancy. It is also economical. NOTE: If you do use soft, or berry fruits, only add 1 tablespoon of water to your recipe; with apples or harder fruits, 3-4 tablespoons are enough. This basic recipe uses apples.
1-1/2 pounds of cooking apples such as Bramleys, peeled and sliced into thick chunks 3-4 tablespoons of water 3 or so tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
4 ounces of self raising flour 2 ounces of margarine pinch of salt 3 ounces of sugar
Put your prepared fruit into a pie dish, about 8″ X 4″, add sugar and water, then cook in the oven on Gas Mark 3 (160C or 325F) for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, to make your crumble topping, rub the margarine into the flour, add the sugar, plus pinch of salt, and rub it in with your fingertips, getting a sort of bread crumb consistency. Take out the dish of fruit, sprinkle the crumble mix over the top, and if you like, add a little sugar on top for a crisper finish. Bake in the center of the oven for around 25-30 minutes on Gas Mark 4 (180C or 350F). You want a light golden crumble.
This is best eaten piping hot, with either thick cream or hot custard, (canned or packet will do). It also goes well with a good quality vanilla ice cream. Whatever you serve this crumble with, it tastes great. Another good point is that you can cook ahead, using big foil dishes to freeze and store for a couple of months. Defrost fully before reheating. I would be less likely to freeze fresh soft or berry versions though, too inclined to turn mushy.
These are just some dessert ideas that I hope will be easy to make and great to eat. Do be sure to eat the meal first, but enjoy these treats too.