Summer Sweet Treats
Many of us tend to eat lighter foods during summer, but it doesn't mean that we want to give up our sweet treats. True, we have the old standbys like snow cones, slushies and ice cream to cool us down. Sorbets and granitas are welcome too, but sometimes we still crave the sinful kinds of dessert such as cakes and pies. The less heat we encounter in preparing them, however, the better. No one wants to be in an overly hot kitchen when outside temperatures average 35ºC. It's pure misery and summer is a time to be smiling not frowning. Summer is a happy season when we spend more time outdoors and we want to enjoy quality time with our family and friends.
This is where the beautiful convenience of no-bake dessert comes into play. I think the most classic no-bake dessert is the humble fruit salad. This is the time to enjoy the summer fruit bounty and delight in the combinations of seasonal treats infused in their own natural juices or syrups infused with various flavours such as lime, honey, ginger, orange flower, cardamom of, if you are naughty, a little liqueur. They are perfect on their own or paired with ice cream, yoghurt or cream.
In the baking aisles of most supermarkets, you have pre-made items to cut down on cooking or baking time: chocolate, assorted nuts, desiccated coconut, ready-made caramels and syrups, jams, canned fruit and all the other delights one needs to prepare dessert. One of my favourites for when I am especially lazy and drained from the heat, but dying for something sugary is the graham cracker shell or pre-made frozen pie shells when I don't have the energy to make some dough. My rolling pin is on vacation on severely hot days. As you know, as I have often said it in this column, I am weaker for pies, tarts and mousse than cakes. I love cakes, don't get me wrong; a nice light sponge-based cake like strawberry shortcake or lychee cake is summer in a bite.
Today I share with you two desserts which you can make in a jiffy and leave in the fridge while you attend to other errands. They are made with ingredients that are easy to source. Most importantly, these recipes are convenient for those of you who are busy but don't want to compromise on a good-tasting sweet treat. Have fun making them and get your children involved, too. For those of you on diets, please look away or indulge on your pig-out days!
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Basic Cheats Cheesecake
Jamaicans seem to be enamoured with cheesecake. This is an easy no-bake fool-proof version which you can top with your favourite seasonal fruits or even canned fruits, depending on what is available to you. You don't have to worry about your kitchen being overheated from the oven. Just make this and stick it in the fridge for a few hours. You don't need to be a pastry chef to make this convenient simple treat.
1 pre-made Graham Cracker Crust (chocolate or
plain, your preference)
1 standard 227g/8oz pack of cream cheese
50g1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or if you wish, juice of 1 lime for a
more citrus flavour profile)
250ml/ 1 cup whipping cream
Your choice of fruits for topping
Place Graham cracker pre-made pie shell in the fridge to chill.
In electric mixer add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla (or lime juice) and continue beating until lighter in texture.
Whisk cream until soft peaks form in a separate bowl and then fold into the cream cheese mixture.
Pour cream mixture into the pre-chilled pie shell cover with cling and chill for an hour to set.
Remove from fridge, remove cling and top with your fruits and place back into the fridge to chill for a few hours until needed.
JuicyChef’s Sinful Rum Chocolate Pots
I love chocolate pots. They are easier to make and have a different texture from mousses. They are silky and rich, so a little goes a long way.Perfect when you want something simple and elegant to serve when you have last-minute guests. Serve with a side of biscuits or fresh fruits. This recipe yields 4 servings in small coffee cups, like the espresso kind. This recipe contains raw eggs, so please make sure they are very fresh. I also use top-notch local dark rum.
200g/8oz Dark Chocolate (you could use
milk if you prefer, but I like a
285ml/1⁄2 pint heavy cream
2 egg yolks
3 tbs Jamaican rum
20g/3⁄4 oz butter, unsalted
In a medium saucepan add cream and heat until below boiling point, then remove.
Break chocolate into pieces and add to cream, stir until fully incorporated.
Whisk in egg yolks and rum and keep stirring until you don't see a trace of egg.
Cool down for a couple of minutes and then, while still warm, add butter and stir again. By this time your mixture should look silky and smooth.
Pour into espresso cups and chill for a couple of hours before serving.