Ten great ideas for easy desserts

21 April 2016

These easy dessert recipes are ideal for when you’re planning a dinner party and short on time. Some can be made ahead, others whipped up in minutes on the day itself.

Apricot and honey tart

Apricot and honey tart

In an ideal world we’d all have time to make our own pastry, but sometimes a roll of shop bought pastry can be a lifesaver when you have a lot to do. This apricot and honey tart from Diana Henry is extremely easy to make – and you can use peaches, nectarines or plums, if you prefer.

Recipe: apricot and honey tart

Pears baked in sherry

Baked pears in sherry

Baked pears is one of the easiest desserts you can make. This boozy version takes just minutes to throw together, then pop it in the oven for 45 minutes while you get on with other things.

Recipe: baked pears in sherry

Chocolate orange pudding recipe

Chocolate orange pudding

The beauty of this quick and easy chocolate and orange pudding is that you can make it the day before and leave it in the fridge to set. Take it out just before serving and serve with a dollop of cream on top.

Recipe: chocolate orange pudding

Annabel Langbein's rhubarb and berry crumble

Individual rhubarb and berry crumbles

A traditional crumble served in individual ramekins with a dollop of crème fresh makes a lovely traditional dessert. This recipe requires no pre-cooking of the fruit, and what’s more if you make crumbles regularly you can save time by making batches of the topping and freezing it for when you need it.

Recipe: rhubarb and berry crumbles

Peach and amaretti gratin

Peach and amaretti gratin

Diana Henry’s peach gratin is very easy and looks fabulous. Simply halve and stone the peaches, mix up some crushed amaretti biscuits with butter, sugar, vanilla and Marsala (or sherry if you don’t have Marsala) and fill the hole left by the stone. Bake and voila, a very simple but impressive dessert.

Recipe: peach and amaretti gratin

Strawberries dipped in yoghurt and hazelnuts

Strawberries dipped in yogurt and hazelnuts

Food blogger Madeleine Shaw is best known for her nutritious recipes full of fruit and vegetables, and this is no exception. They take just minutes to put together, although do require some chilling time. Make plenty and enjoy them as a healthy snack the next day too.

Recipe: strawberries dipped in yogurt and hazelnuts

Summer berry salad

Flavoured syrup for fruit

This is dead easy but also quite unusual so it’s a quick and easy way to ‘wow’ guests. Decide on the fruit you’d like to serve and choose a herby flavouring that complements them (such as basil or mint for berries, lavender for stone fruit or coriander for melons). Pour on the fruit and enjoy.

Recipe: flavoured syrup for fruit salad

Annabel Langbein's honey and lemon cream puddings

Honey lemon cream pudding

Annabel Langbein’s honey and lemon cream puddings are so easy to make and look wonderful served in dainty teacups with a scattering of fresh fruit. Just combine the ingredients together on the stove, pour into teacups or ramekins and leave to set. They can be made in advance so do them the night before to give yourself more time on the day of the dinner party.

Recipe: honey lemon cream pudding

Lemon syllabub with berries

Lemon syllabub

This is one of the easiest dinner party puddings you could dream of and it doesn’t even require any cooking whatsoever. Just gently combine all ingredients as you gently whisk. Transfer the mixture to glasses or ramekins and leave in the fridge until you need them.

Recipe: lemon syllabub

Banoffi pie

Banoffee pie

Another no-cook quickie, banoffee pie is perfect for anyone that just wants an easy and hassle-free dessert. All you need to do is artfully combine an all-butter pastry case, a can of dulce de leche, bananas, cream and instant coffee to make this classic sweet and creamy dessert.

Recipe: banoffee pie

Visit our dessert recipes section for more delicious pudding ideas.

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