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what to make when

What to make when... you're the one bringing dessert

From simple show-stoppers to last-minute emergency puds – try these for inspiration.

ENDING A MEAL with an impressive dessert can turn any gathering into a memorable event. From a comforting seasonal crumble to no-bake chocolate trifle, making dessert doesn’t have to result in hours in the kitchen.

A decadent cake is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and creating something for friends and family to savour should be enjoyable!

We’ve rounded up some dessert suggestions to suit any occasion – whether it’s a weekend dinner with family or if you’re simply popping over to a friend’s for tea. If you’re the one bringing the dessert, end the occasion in style with one of our stress free recipe suggestions below.

Baked cheesecake: Baked cheesecake can be made a day or two in advance, so you won’t need to think about anything on the day. Start off as you would with any cheesecake, by making a digestive biscuit base and pressing it into the bottom of a round springform tin. Allow to chill while you make the filling.

In a large bowl, beat together 600g cream cheese (full fat is best) with 3 beaten eggs, a pot of sour cream, a spoonful of flour and cup of caster sugar. Beat until combined, then add in whatever flavour you like – a mixture of raspberries and white chocolate chips is our favourite, or you could take inspiration from Irish Baking Adventure’s passion fruit version. Bake in an oven for about 40 minutes until set, then allow to cool in the tin. Serve with some extra fresh fruit or a fruit coulis.

Blueberry frangipane: Begin by rolling out some shop-bought shortcrust pastry, then use it to line a flan tin, and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes while you make the filling.

Cream equal amounts of butter and sugar together (180g each) until light and fluffy, the add in 3 beaten eggs, 200g ground almonds and a heaped spoonful of regular flour. Mix in a cup of blueberries and tip onto the pastry, spreading it out so it’s even. Place another few blueberries on top, as well as some flaked almonds if you have them, and bake for about 40 minutes until golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or custard.

Rhubarb and strawberry crumble: With rhubarb and strawberries coming into season, now is the perfect time to make the most of these wonderful fruits. To make the crumble topping, mix together butter, flour, oats, brown sugar and chopped nuts with your fingers until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb consistency. (For an alternative, you could try this dairy and refined sugar free crumble topping from Rosanna’s Kitchen.)

Once the topping is made, roughly chop strawberries and rhubarb and add to a pan with some sugar and a teaspoon of cornflour. Heat until the fruit begins to soften, then pop into a gratin dish. Top with the crumble mix and bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and the fruit is cooked through. If you’re not eating this straight away, it’s best to reheat it in the oven before serving, and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Pavlova: In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff, then slowly add in sugar (use 50g of sugar for every egg) and continue whisking until the mixture is glossy. For a one-tier pavlova, use four egg whites or you can double this for a two tier. Once the sugar has been combined, stir through a splash of white wine vinegar and a teaspoon of cornflour.

Spread the mixture out on baking parchment, and bake at 140 C for an hour. Once cooked, turn off the oven and leave the pavlova there for at least a few hours, or overnight if possible, then decorate with cream and fruit. Why not take inspiration from this recipe at Jane’s Patisserie topped with spring fruits – perfect for an Easter gathering!

Chocolate trifle: If you’re landed with making a last-minute dessert, look no further than this deliciously moreish recipe that can be made in 20 minutes! Heat a large carton of custard in a pan and add in 120g of dark chocolate, then stir until melted and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, beat together mascarpone, double cream, vanilla extract and orange liqueur (optional) until thickened, then mix through broken up chocolate brownies. In a large trifle dish, spread a layer of custard , then a layer of chopped strawberries, and a layer of the creamy brownie mix, and continue layering until all of the ingredients have been used.

Top with a final layer of cream and some more strawberries, and chill until ready to serve. Decorate with some berry coulis or chocolate sauce and more fresh fruit.

More: What to make when… it’s late and you’re tired>

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