Desserts are often the part of a meal everyone looks forward to the most. This is especially true in winter when food is often an important source of comfort (and warmth). With that in mind, here are six ways to create quick and easy cold-weather desserts.
Use your freezer well
You can certainly use your freezer to hold shop-bought desserts. These are certainly quick and easy to make. In general, however, they’re not particularly affordable. You can also use your freezer to prepare homemade desserts ahead of time. This is more affordable but may create extra work for you.
This means that the smart approach is to fill your freezer with dishes you can easily adapt to make lots of different desserts. For example, rice, bread, and tapioca puddings are all easy to batch-cook and they all freeze very well.
You can cook these cold-weather desserts in large quantities and then freeze them in portions. Creating a winter dessert can be as easy as heating them in the microwave. To ring in the changes, just add something to them. There are loads of options from jam, honey, and chocolate to fruit.
Take baking and add custard
Baking can be made (or bought) well in advance of your meal. Some baked goods will also freeze very well so all you have to do is thaw and serve. Whether or not baked goods on their own count as a dessert is a matter of opinion. If, however, you put them in a bowl and add custard, then they indisputably become a dessert.
For completeness, this trick can work with other sauces. It’s just that custard tends to be your quickest and easiest option. Ready-made custard is very affordable and sold just about everywhere. You can also get custard powder or make your own totally from scratch. Chocolate sauce is probably the next easiest option.
Serve fruit hot
Another great option for super-quick and easy cold-weather desserts is just to serve plain hot fruit. For example, larger fruits (like apples) can usually be baked as they are (or cored). Pretty much any fruit can be stewed and/or turned into compote. If you want a dessert with a bit more “wow factor” then get creative with the presentation. For example, serve the fruit on skewers.
Rather ironically, this can give you an opportunity to dig out the recipes you use in summer. A lot of “barbecue desserts” are essentially variations on hot fruit, sometimes with a sauce. They generally work perfectly well on indoor grills.
Make a crumble
Crumble can be made and used in all kinds of ways. Probably the most obvious one is as a topping for hot fruit. That’s one of the quickest, easiest, and most affordable cold-weather desserts around.
There are, however, lots of different ways to use crumble. For example, you could layer it with fruit and custard (hot or cold) to create a variation on a standard fruit crumble. You can also use it for twists on desserts like trifles. Admittedly all of these are essentially variations on a theme. They will, however, all do the job of making hungry people happy on a cold day.
Use filo pastry
Pastry has a reputation for being hard to make and hard to use. Overall, this reputation is justified. As is often the case, however, details matter. In simple terms, the rougher a pastry is, the easier it is to make and to use. Rough pastry also freezes very well.
Filo pastry is the roughest pastry around. It’s relatively quick and easy to make and relatively affordable to buy ready-made. It’s also easy to use and cooks fairly quickly. Filo pastry is probably most associated with easy pie toppings and quick savory snacks. It is, however, at least as good for sweet dishes such as desserts.
Just fill your filo pastry with something sweet and pop it in the oven. You can even heat the pastries in advance and reheat them in the oven or microwave. For bonus points, serve with custard or another hot sauce (or cream).
Search for quick and easy recipes
It may be stating the obvious but it works. If someone has created a recipe that they consider to be quick and/or easy, they will generally flag the fact in the description. So, if you fancy making a specific dish but think it would be too complicated, try searching for an “easy” version.
For example, instead of searching on just “vanilla pudding” search on “easy homemade vanilla pudding”. This should maximize your chances of finding simple recipes straight away instead of complicated recipes and advertisements for shop-sold vanilla puddings. This way you find a better set of cold-weather recipes for your budget and time constraints.