Escape from Perfection: Desserts that Look Good Messy

Some desserts need to be formed just so; others can be plopped in a bowl or shoveled precariously from a pie dish and look just as lovely. We're partial to the latter. Here are 10 scrumptious, fruity, crusty, creamy sweets that don't have to look good to taste divine.

Crumbles, cobblers, and crostatas are obvious choices. As long as we get a little fruit and a little topping, we're satisfied. But some cakes look perfect when they're imperfect, and there are some ice cream concoctions that we prefer a little off-kilter.

TOP ROW
• 1. Plum Crumble, from the Kitchn. We might skip the serving dishes and just pass out forks for this one.
• 2. Victoria Sandwich, from Jamie Oliver. Um, a cake called a sandwich? We'll take two. This is essentially whipped cream and jam sandwiched between two cake rounds. Charming!
• 3. Rhubarb Crostata, from Dawn of One Girl Cookies. Something about the chunks of rhubarb threatening to make a break for it win us over.
• 4. Tipsy Affogato, from The Bitten Word. You can't keep this looking pristine if you tried—the coffee and booze makes it all soupy.
• 5. Fruit Biscuit Crostata, from the Kitchn. Easy peasy, and you don't even have to slice your fruit as beautifully as Faith did.

BOTTOM ROW
• 6. Plum Berry Crisp, from Gourmet. It's almost sinister-looking with its black-purple color.
• 7. Foolproof Cobbler for Any Fruit, from the Kitchn. You mix this dough with a fork and pat it with your hands. How good can it look?
• 8. Caramelized Banana Splits with Hot Chocolate Sauce, from Gourmet. Sub in any banana split here (we just thought this one looked especially good).
• 9. Rustic-Looking Cake, from the Kitchn. Can't frost a cake like a pro? This one looks awesome, too.
• 10. Eton Mess, from the Kitchn. It's called a mess, people. It's supposed to look crazy. This mash-up of meringue and whipped cream is on our to-make list.

Related: Non-Intimidating Dessert: Free-Form Crostatas

(Images: Faith Durand; Tara Fisher; Liz Vidyarthi; The Bitten Word; Romulo Yanes/Gourmet; Elizabeth Passarella; Sarah Rae Trover; Dana Veldon)

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