A couple weeks ago we asked for your best fast desserts. It's spring, which means that we're starting to cook out of the garden and we're less inclined to spend long evenings in the kitchen. But we don't want to give up dessert entirely - we just want it to be quick like our spring pastas and salads! Here are nine quick and easy desserts that we either found through your comments or in recent blog posts.
Each of these desserts are so quick that you can pull them together in less than an hour and cook dinner at the same time. They're all oh-shoot-we-have-company desserts - pretty, elegant, but unpretentious and easy.
Most involve fruit and good presentation. If you keep a set of little ramekins around all you have to do is put a scoop of warm, homemade pudding in each, add a dollop of whipped cream and presto - you've made your guests very happy.
- Fresh berries macerated in wine or liquor with whipped creamThis is the most basic theme for spring desserts, and there are many variations. Macerate fresh strawberries or blueberries with a little Kirsch, brandy, or rum; add some sugar or chopped mint. Serve with whipped cream, or make biscuits and serve strawberry shortcake.
• Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake
- Homemade vanilla or lemon puddingHomemade cornstarch-based pudding is very quick and lacks the unmistakable from-a-box aftertaste of the packaged stuff. Here's our recipe; it takes about 15 minutes from beginning to end.
• DIY Pudding
• Also see this Cardamom Pudding with Mango.
- Pears roasted with cream cheese or lemon StiltonA twist on the roasted fruit concept. Try our pears with cream cheese mashed with lemon zest, or the lovely Lemon Stilton.
• Roasted Pears with Lemon Stilton, Walnuts and Honey
- Jam galette or crostata Let's say you don't even have fruit in the house, and there's no time to buy any. You need a fast dessert with cupboard-only staples. Hopefully you have a good jar of jam around, because you can make our biscuit-crust galette and smear with jam and sprinkle with almonds for a light, quick treat. Try making them individually for an even nicer presentation.
• Apricot and Biscuit Crostata - Substitute jam, Nutella, powdered sugar and nuts, or whatever else you've got.
- Baked fruit crumble or crispAll you need is a good recipe for crumble or streusel. Cut up fruit, dot with butter and sugar, and top with streusel and bake. Try this recipe from Bon Appetit:
• Nutmeg-Walnut Streusel
- Pain au chocolatThis one is simple and sublime. Take slices of good French bread, toast slightly and smear with good chocolate. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with chunky sea salt.
• Toasted and Bread and Chocolate at Fine Cooking
- Vanilla ice cream with a homemade hot fudge and a sprig of mintStorebought ice cream gets a homemade twist if you make the topping. Here's our ten-minute recipe:
• DIY Hot Fudge Sauce
- Greek yogurt with stewed cherriesCherry season is just beginning, and oh how good this looks! Just a bit of thick, creamy Greek yogurt and home-stewed syrup and fruit. This could all be done ahead of time - no sweat. We found the recipe and idea here:
• Cherries, Cherries, Cherries: Cherry Syrup at What Did You Eat
- Apple sauce or rhubarb puree with a meringue topWe have always thought this recipe from Orangette was brilliant. Take any stewed fruit - applesauce, rhubarb, berries - and cap with a bit of meringue and bake until it's a crispy shell. Warm, crisp, and homey.
• Vanilla Applesauce with a Crunchy Meringue Cap at Orangette
Related: Cooking by Feel: What Are Your Best Fast Desserts?
(Images: Faith Hopler; James Carrier for Sunset; Faith Hopler; Blueberry Galette by Flickr member fille_de_photo, licensed under Creative Commons; Mark Thomas for Bon Appetit; Scott Phillips for Fine Cooking; Faith Hopler; What Did You Eat?; Molly Wizenberg of Orangette)