I am someone who firmly believes in dessert — a meal doesn't feel like a meal without even just a bite of something sweet in my opinion. Yet, I am also someone who firmly believes that dessert doesn't need to be complicated. Give me a square of good dark chocolate instead of an impressive slice of cake and I am equally satisfied. These five desserts are just that — they're super simple, plus they are a hit with almost everyone at the end of almost any meal.
Almost everyone can agree on lemon — this sweet, tangy dessert celebrates it. This is also a no-bake situation, which means you can assemble it without breaking any sort of sweat. Make it up to an hour or up to a day in advance so it has time to firm up in the fridge. Plus, it feeds a serious crowd — at least 20 of your most favorite family and friends. It's made with Cool Whip in a serious nod to nostalgia, but a thick whipped cream works too.
Whoever says fruit for dessert is a bore hasn't had this fruit for dessert. Toss a mix of whatever fruit happens to be in your kitchen with brown sugar and vanilla, lay it out on a sheet pan, throw it under the broiler for 10 minutes, and the result is extra sweet, caramelized goodness that will immediately silence the naysayers — particularly when you drop it in a bowl with a generous dollop of the creamy mascarpone yogurt sauce.
This one doesn't really even need an explanation. Who doesn't want to end a meal with brownies? They're the homey, comforting dessert we often prefer to fancy chocolate cake and may just be too afraid to say it. Lean on this recipe and you most likely already have all the ingredients to bake a batch right now. Serve them warm in bowls topped with a big scoop of ice cream.
Anyone who has sat down at my table for dinner has eaten my panna cotta at least once, but probably a half-dozen times. It is always my answer to what's for dessert, be it a Saturday night when friends drop by or a Tuesday when weeknight dinner just needs a sweet ending. It's not too heavy, and takes just a few minutes to assemble in the morning or the night before to be ready for you when you need it. Oh, and it's endlessly customizable: Top it with fresh berries in the summer, toasted nuts and honey in the winter, and shaved chocolate in between.
A galette is basically a lazy pie, and that's exactly why it's so perfect. Roll out pie crust — use store-bought if you're really short on time — lay fresh fruit in the center, fold up the sides, and bake. Everyone will cheer, I promise. It bakes up to be rustic yet fancy at the same time. Swap in any seasonal fruit for the pears and apples called for in this recipe, like sliced peaches or plums, pitted cherries, or a mix of berries. Just save a wedge or two for the morning — it makes for a mean breakfast.