Definitely NOT having a blast over here with all this heat. I’m currently suffering from that peculiarly British compunction whereby now that it’s actually sunny, I’m complaining that it’s too hot. I wouldn’t mind. Really, I wouldn’t. I love swimming and barbecues and ice-cream. BUT I have no garden, my tiny fridge freezer is full to bursting with boring stuff (leaving no room for ice cream) and it’s too hot to turn on the oven to bake anything. Boo hiss.
So how can we compulsive bakists satisfy our baking urges without actually going near the oven? Here are my top 5 summer no-bake desserts and treats:
1) TIRAMISU. Super-easy, can be adapted for those who are paranoid about raw eggs, always delicious, and has the added bonus of our good friend alcohol (and can be adapted for those avoiding the stuff).
2) SUMMER PUDDING. Only the British could have invented a dessert that can only be eaten on a very limited number of days in the year. Again it’s incredibly easy, always refreshing, and even gives you one of your five a day.
3) CHEESECAKE. I was seriously considering this as an option for this afternoon, only to realise we had no biscuits 😦 (Yeah, I know…somebody pinch me!) Endless in its variety, it can be as healthy or as decadent as you choose and is simple to prepare as well.
4) RICE KRISPIE/CORNFLAKE CAKES. A great afternoon snack, these can be done with basically whatever cereal you have in the house and can be further jazzed up with dried fruit and nuts, taking you even closer to that elusive five a day (you only need 30g of dried fruit to meet that target).
5) CHOCOLATE MOUSSE. While slightly more complex to make than the above suggestions, it is still quite difficult to mess up and is always melt-in-the-mouth gorgeous. (I would run with this – I do have all the ingredients – but only made it the other day, so…)
So what do you need in order to avoid my currently supremely unorganised state? Here are some things to always have in your cupboards (or fridge) so that you are primed for dessert-making at any time – rain or shine:
(just call me Captain Obvious)
Cooking chocolate (dark, milk and white)
Basic supermarket biscuits (shortbreads, digestives and Rich Tea biscuits are good ones to have on standby. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll need to keep them under lock and key…then leave the key with someone else.)
Grape-Nuts cereal (you’d be surprised how many cheesecake bases use them. Delia Smith is also a big fan and uses this cereal a lot in her dessert recipes)
A selection of dried fruits and nuts (I suggest hazelnuts, peanuts, dried apricots, raisins, dried berries, dates, coconut, and walnuts)
A bottle of rum or brandy
Golden syrup, honey, and treacle
Nutella (you can’t go wrong in life with a jar of Nutella in your cupboard. If all else fails and you really can’t make anything because you’ve forgotten to buy all of the above ingredients, you can always eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon. WIN.)
Now, unless something goes horribly wrong in the interim, you’ll find me in the kitchen making these to nibble on after dinner. Om nom nom.