Unexpected sweets to end a meal, whether you're planning dinner for company or just need instant gratification on a Tuesday night.
Enjoy these fast and easy dessert recipes!
Quick Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake
Guerilla Culinary Brigade
You could spend an hour making classic American strawberry shortcake, but John Keller, chef at Co-Op Food & Drink in New York, has figured out a way to cut the process down to 10 minutes. His secret ingredient: store-bought biscuit dough that comes in a tube. Strawberries, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla help transform any brand of the humble supermarket product into a guest-worthy treat.
At La Silhouette restaurant in New York, pastry chef Jeff Sytsma serves a peanut butter sabayon (a light, foamy Italian mousse) with warm chocolate cake. This more traditional version -- made with just brandy, water, egg yolks and sugar -- is a lovely complement to bright pink and orange winter fruits such as blood oranges, Cara Cara navels and grapefruit.
Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami transforms one of our go-to quick desserts -- a parfait -- by using unconventional ingredients, like apple juice concentrate and ginger root. Follow Stewart's recipe to keep it healthy or make it with vanilla bean ice cream instead of Greek-style nonfat plain yogurt for a richer dessert.
This dish may sound complicated, but Sabina and Lorraine Belkin, sisters and chefs/owners of Duo Restaurant & Lounge in New York, promise it comes together quickly: You can brown the bananas in just two minutes and cook the crepes in two more. In less than 10 minutes, you'll have the classic late-night Parisian street food right in your own kitchen.
Puckery lemon sherbet, crushed frozen strawberries and sparkling wine all poured into a single glass make for a gorgeous palate cleanser that falls somewhere between a slushy and a smoothie. A champagne flute or coupe is perfect for this dessert; top it with a sprig of mint.
Lemon Ricotta Bowls
Follow a rich meal with this unexpected choice, where ricotta -- which usually only shows up on the dessert menu in cheesecake -- gets the spotlight. Though it only takes a minute to stir two cups of cheese with a teaspoon each of lemon zest and juice, a half teaspoon of vanilla and sugar to taste, it's best if you make it before dinner so the cheese can absorb the bright flavors.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
The trick to making these standbys perfect is to use soft cookies. Country Choice Organic cookies are ideal and come in oatmeal raisin, oatmeal chocolate chip and double fudge brownie flavors. The fun is in dreaming up the perfect sandwich combination: Try chocolate chip with limited edition amaretto almond crunch, snickerdoodles with Ben & Jerry's cinnamon ice cream or chocolate cookies with any peanut butter ice cream.
Warm Chocolate Pudding
Author and Food Network chef Kathleen Daelemans says this pudding -- which you can whip up with pantry ingredients including sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, bittersweet chocolate and vanilla extract -- is best eaten just five minutes after it comes off the stove, when it's barely set.