Impromptu meals are one of my favorite kinds for neighbors or friends, visitors who arrive early or are hungrier than they expected to be. And then there are the meals that are planned but a day is much busier than expected. In either case there is often little time to make a formal dessert, and the reserves are empty: no ice cream in the freezer, the cookie jar is nearly empty, and the neighborhood grocer isn’t open. This can engender panic, as it did for me in years past. Until I figured out a solution that not only is quick and delicious, but makes guests’ eyes light up with delight!
Here is the solution, with specific tips so you can offer a stunning dessert no matter the occasion.
You’ll get other solutions and ideas like this in our Live Cooking Classes with Susan, as well as formalized recipes and so much more!
To Have on Hand
Always have the following on hand:
- A few bars of excellent chocolate. This will serve you in every possible way, from nipping into them for an afternoon snack to folding big chips of them into your cookie dough.
- A selection of nuts – raw and toasted – in your freezer. Nuts are volatile and they need to be frozen to keep well.
- Dried fruits, particularly dates, particularly Medjool dates.
- Cookies – even if the jar is almost empty, you can have some cookie dough in the freezer which can quickly be sliced and baked so that the house smells as though you’ve planned this event forever.
- Candied ginger – (it’s amazing how people love this!).
- Fresh and seasonal fruit
- Frozen berries or homemade jam – optional
- Your favorite yogurt — optional
Here is what you do.
- Coarsely chop the chocolate into pieces that can be picked up – or break it into squares (if you’re using Tony Chocolonely brand, you’ll break it into unevenly shaped pieces, because the bars are specifically scored unevenly to illustrate the uneven justice of the chocolate industry and the company’s efforts to change that)
- Thickly slice the candied ginger if it isn’t pre-sliced
- Puree the berries so they’re chunky – if they’re still frozen, that’s ok.
- Fold the berries or jam into the yogurt, sweeten it if necessary, and put it into a beautiful bowl.
- Cut the fruit or serve it whole – it depends on the fruit. If you’re serving whole apples and pears, make sure guests have knives so they can peel and core their own fruit.
- Choose your favorite platter.
- Arrange everything on it in a tumble except the berried yogurt of course!
- Garnish all with herb leaves or flowers, if you’ve got them. Or not – it will be baroquely beautiful either way.
Now watch eyes light up at the abundance, the surprise, the delight of an impromptu dessert.