Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Desserts

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty great at procrastinating. Not because I work better under pressure (although that’s a nice excuse); it’s just in my nature to wait until the very last minute. Drives my mother CRAZY. Which is funny, because I’m pretty sure I inherited that trait from her…ANYway.

I’m bringing dessert to a cookout tonight and in true “Southern Soiree” fashion, I have only just begun to think about what to bring. Naturally, this leads me to what I like to call a ”Carrie Bradshaw” moment (say it with me) – I couldn’t help but wonder, what are some of the best quick and easy desserts to pull together for summer entertaining?

Enter the Banana Pudding. Some say its boring, I say dependable (which is totally different than boring. Totally). My standard go-to recipe is this low-cal version that my Aunt Dianne introduced me to (it makes me feel so much better about eating the entire bowl by myself), but it’s also fun to experiment by changing just a few ingredients. Use small cubes of pound cake instead of Nilla Wafers. Add some Nutter Butters to create the taste of a PB&B sandwich (a fave from my childhood…and maybe adulthood). For a more grown-up version, add a splash of Banana Liqueur to the pudding, or take it one step further and cook the bananas in Rum and Brown Sugar, “Bananas Foster” style. See? Not so boring anymore. And if you have a few extra minutes on hand, take the presentation up a notch by serving the dessert in individual glasses. I love the look of these parfait glasses featured in Southern Living. I like to serve mine in stemless Cosmo glasses (easier to eat out of).

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This dessert doesn’t necessarily scream “summer”, but we serve Chocolate Eclair Cake at the lake a lot and it ALWAYS disappears quickly. It’s easy, light and great for a crowd. I like the recipe on the Kraft Foods website; although, sometimes I cheat and use canned chocolate frosting. Ssshhhhh……

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Of course, you CAN’T have a summer dessert in the South without using our delicious Chilton County peaches. When you’ve already got the grill fired up, why not use it for dessert, too? This recipe from Epicurious is a favorite of mine – Grilled Peaches with Fresh Raspberry Sauce. You can make the Raspberry Sauce ahead (provided you are not a procrastinator extraordinaire, like yours truly), and the rest only takes a few minutes. Serve it over ice cream or pound cake for a simple, but impressive dessert.

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Pick up some fresh peaches at the farmer’s market this weekend (Pepper Place, East Lake or Urban Cookhouse/Homewood are my personal faves) and try it out!

And just in case you are wondering, I’m going with the Grilled Peaches tonight.

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