The British Dessert Hack I’m Stealing from Ina Garten

published Jun 7, 2023
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Summer is my favorite time to host dinner parties and my least favorite time to turn on my oven. Because ending the meal on a sweet note is a non-negotiable, I often find myself asking the same question over and over: What should we have for dessert?

Flipping through an old copy of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home, I came across a recipe that might just answer that eternal question once and for all. The recipe, which was introduced to Ina by her British television producers, sounded like it might be even easier than s’mores. As an apartment dweller that is not legally allowed to have a campfire, I thought I’d give Ina’s Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate a shot. 

How to Make Ina’s Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate

According to Ina’s cookbook, this recipe was popularized by renowned London-based restaurant The Ivy and referred to as “Scandinavian Iced Berries with Hot White Chocolate.” The dish consists of four ingredients: frozen fruit, white chocolate chips, heavy cream, and pure vanilla extract. 

To prepare it, start by arranging a variety of frozen fruit on your dessert serving plates. They’ll need to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes so they’re not frozen solid when you’re ready to serve.

Credit: Lena Abraham

This is the perfect window of time to make your white chocolate ganache. As soon as your fruit is plated, combine 10 ounces of chopped white chocolate with 1 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in a medium heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over gently boiling water and heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has completely melted into the cream. Spoon your ganache over your fruit and serve ASAP.

Credit: Lena Abraham

So, How Does It Taste?

Creamy and sweet with bursts of juicy, acidic fruit and a satisfying contrast of cold and warm temperatures, this dessert is super fun to eat. I made mine with a variety of fruit: some plates with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, and others with strawberries, peaches, and mango. 

Credit: Lena Abraham

Each fruit created a completely unique flavor combination with the ganache, making for a fun variety of flavors and textures as I ate around my plate. Combining two different fruits in one bite created even more delicious combinations of flavors. (Strawberry and mango was my personal favorite.) No matter the combination, the dessert tasted sort of like a deconstructed creamy sorbet, with subtle notes of vanilla and lots of fresh fruity flavor.

Although I’m usually skeptical of white chocolate, this recipe definitely convinced me that it has its place. The light caramel notes in the ganache brought out the sweetness of the fruit, making for a simple but incredibly satisfying way to end a meal.

If You’re Going to Try This Recipe, Here Are a Few Tips

  1. Use a variety of fruits. For prettier plating and a variety of flavors, use a mix of fruits. Consider pairing more acidic fruits like pineapple and blackberries with sweeter fruits like strawberries and bananas.
  2. Make your own frozen fruit if you have time. Ina’s recipe requires you to freeze your own fruit, and although it does take some forethought, there are definitely some advantages to doing it yourself. Most importantly, you have more control over the variety of fruits you’re using. Perusing your grocery store or farmers market to find the ripest in-season fruit will result in an especially delicious version of this dessert. You’ll also have the ability to cut your fruit in more aesthetically pleasing ways for an impressive presentation. 
  3. Make it your own with some crunchy toppers. The one thing this dessert is missing is a little crunch. To add some texture to the final dish, you could add some toasted coconut, chopped nuts, or crumbled butter cookies. Anything crunchy is fair game!