These ‘no-bake desserts’ mean that you can have your pudding ready and waiting in the fridge, avoiding oven-wars at all costs. Continental Slice: These biscuity treats are like a millionaires shortbread – but without the hassle of making caramel and baking a shortbread biscuit. A great sweet treat to go with coffee at the end of a dinner.
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups crushed hobnobs or other similar biscuits
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
60g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons hot water
200g dark chocolate (you can use milk or white chocolate if your’e looking for a sweeter taste)
60g copha (vegetable fat)
Grease an 18 x 28cm slice pan and line with baking paper.
Combine the butter, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan and stir until butter is melted and mixture is well combined.
Stir in the egg and vanilla extract, then cook, stirring, for a further 1 min.
Remove from heat. In a bowl, combine the biscuit crumbs, coconut and walnuts, then stir in the cooled mixture from the pan.
Press this mixture tightly against the surface of a baking tray and chill in the fridge until firm.
Using an electric mixer (or do it by hand if you’re ready for an arm workout), cream butter until it has a whipped texture.
In a separate bowl, sift the icing sugar and custard powder together.
Add to creamed butter, alternating with the hot water – add this a little bit at a time to ensure it doesn’t go too runny.
Spread this over the biscuit base. Chill until firm.
To make the topping, stir chocolate and Copha in a small saucepan over low heat until melted. Spread over the top of the custard
Chill until ready to serve to guests and cut it into squares or bar-shapes.
Carrot cake bites: A perfect bitesize treat that tastes just like their traditional ancestor, but again without the need to switch the oven on. Great to make in large quantities and have as a cheeky snack with your packed lunch the day after the dinner party.
1 large carrot, grated
5 dates, pitted
1 cup rolled oats – porridge oats will do fine
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup coconut flakes, finely chopped
Half a bar of dark chocolate (optional)
Grate your carrot into tiny thin strips, the side of the grater that you would use for cheese.
Process carrot, dates, oats, orange juice, mixed spice and vanilla bean paste in a food processor until almost smooth and paste-like, a nutri-bullet is an ideal tool for this.
Place coconut flakes in a separate small bowl.
Roll 1 level tablespoon mixture into a ball with your hands – make sure you’ve washed them – then roll in coconut flakes to coat.
Place on a plate. Repeat with remaining mixture and coconut flakes. Serve.
If you’re feeling extra naughty, dip the balls into melted chocolate and place on a plate in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened around the mixture.
Mango cheesecake cups: a chilled and refreshing end to a dinner party with a refreshing fruity taste. Perfect after a rich main course for a sharp and cleansing contrast.
250g cream cheese (I use Philadelphia), at room temperature 1 cup thick cream cream
125ml double cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 lemon, rind finely grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small mango, peeled, thinly sliced Passionfruit pulp, to serve
Mint leaves (optional)
Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth.
Add the thickened cream, double cream, sugar and lemon rind. Beat for 2-3 minutes, until thick and creamy.
Stir through lemon juice until combined.
Add some cream cheese mixture in the base of four glasses (the kind you have whisky in are perfect).
Top with sliced mango and continue layering until the glass is full.
Finish with mango slices.
Top with passionfruit pulp and mint leaves for sharpness.
There we have it, 3 perfect ‘no-bake’ desserts to conclude your dinner party without having to co- ordinate your oven timings. Double up the quantities to cater for a larger group, they also make the perfect packed-lunch sweet snacks to go with your afternoon coffee.
These can all be prepared before your guests arrive, or even the night before, to ensure that you’re not spending your evening slaving over the cooker.
Image credit: Husbands That Cook via Flickr