3 make-ahead desserts to save you time

These recipes will save you so much time in the kitchen!

27 Jan 2015

There is so much joy in feeding your friends and family with a plate of food that you've lovingly prepared …but let’s face it, entertaining can be stressful for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kitchen novice or a Nigella Lawson in the making! We all feel the pressure when cooking for more than two people.

To make things a bit easier I find that it is always better to have at least one course that has been prepared before-hand. This way you can simply cut it up or warm the necessary bits right before serving. And the easiest way is definitely by tackling the dessert before your guests arrive!

Desserts often need some time in the oven or fridge so making them ahead of time will save you time and effort during the dinner party. Thus leaving you with more time to chat and sip wine with the others. 

A quick and easy solution is homemade fruit jellies that can be made the day before. Even though they need about 2 hours of setting time, it only takes minutes to prepare before you pop it into the fridge. 

Sparkling wine and passion fruit jellies

30ml (2tbsp) cold water 
13g (4tsp) powdered gelatine
80ml (? cup) canned/fresh passion fruit pulp
160ml (? cup) sparkling wine
250ml (1 cup) passion fruit juice 
100g white chocolate, melted
fresh mint leaves, optional 

Place the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatine on top. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Place this small bowl into a slightly larger bowl with hot water. Let it sit in there until all of the gelatine has melted down and become smooth and clear. 

Stir the passion fruit pulp, wine and juice together. Stir a bit of this liquid into the melted gelatine and then pour it all back into the bowl with the wine and juice. Lightly whisk to combine it all. 

Pour it into 4 individual jelly moulds and let it set in the fridge for at least 2 hours or over night. Remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving. 

To unmould, simply dip each jelly mould in a bit of warm water for a second or two. The jellies will simply slide out. Once unmoulded drizzle some of the melted chocolate on top and garnish with some mint if you like. 

Tip: For a non-alcoholic version simply replace the wine with sparkling apple or white grape juice.

Frozen chocolate and ice cream swiss roll

A dessert crowd pleaser always involves a bit of chocolate. No one will be able to resist this beauty of a swiss roll with a twist. Instead of the usual cream filling, this cake is filled with ice cream and raspberry jam. And the great thing is that you can do the whole dessert the day before and simply slice and go when you are ready to eat. 

Click here for the recipe.

Tip: You can replace the vanilla ice cream with your favourite flavour – chocolate, pistachio, tin roof and even berry sorbet or frozen yoghurt will work great with the berries. Other fruit that can work is canned peaches, blueberries, strawberries or canned guavas

Butterscotch banana and ice cream parfait

Another dessert that always goes down a treat is cake. A great tasting vanilla cake is the perfect vehicle for different flavours. Instead of doing the usual iced cake or cupcakes, you can easily turn a plain cake into individual parfaits or mini trifles.

You can’t go wrong with a warm buttery sauce that oozes over ice cream

180g butter, room temperature
375ml (1 ½ cups) sugar 
3 eggs
125ml (½ cup) milk
1.25ml (¼ tsp) salt
375ml (1 ½ cups) self raising flour 

120g butter
430ml (1 ¾ cup) brown sugar
160ml (? cup) cream 
4 bananas, sliced into rounds
1.5L  vanilla ice cream
mint, to garnish

For the cake, pre heat the oven to 180°C. Line a rectangular (30cm x 20cm) cake tin with some baking paper. 

Cream the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, milk, salt and flour until smooth. Pour it into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then gently turn it over onto a cooling rack. Peel off the baking paper and allow it to cool. 

For the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add in the sugar and stir until most of the sugar has melted. Stir in the cream and turn up the heat. Allow it to bubble away for 2-3 minutes until smooth and thickened. Stir in the sliced bananas and cook for another minute. 

Slice the cake into bite-size squares. Place a few into each serving glass. Add a scoop of ice cream and then drizzle the warm sauce and bananas on top. Garnish with mint if you like. 

Tip: You can prepare the cake before hand, cut it into squares and store it in a sealable container until dessert time. 

By food stylist and recipe developer, Illanique van Aswegen.

- Illanique van Aswegen

Read more on: desserts  |  recipes  |  entertaining


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