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Challenge 8 - No-Bake Desserts w/Fruit
Posted by Lori Ross - Viewed 22811 times

Dear Lori,

We’d love 5 recipes for no-bake desserts with fresh fruit.
We love lemon, chocolate, cinnamon and graham cracker crusts so feel free to include any of these.

Blake Waters
Tina McKenzie
Deale, MD
Tartan 31’

Dear Blake and Tina,

This is a terrific challenge because I rarely bake on the boat as I am reluctant to heat up the cabin unless it is chilly. I tend to serve no-bake appetizers; I grill or sauté the main course and make a salad or steam, grill or microwave fresh vegetables.   While I usually offer an easy dessert such as dried and fresh fruit, nuts and cheeses with wine; or chocolates and candies such as salted caramels, nut brittle or candied fruits and nuts with port, Madeira or dessert wine, I really prefer to make a special dessert.  I embrace this challenge as a way to surprise guests with a little something special made in advance! The following recipes are some of my favorite desserts designed to serve 4 people.

1.    Chocolate Mousse With Fruit And Cream
2.    Fruit Cheesecake Bowls
3.    Key Lime Pie
4.    Apple Nut Tart
5.    Lemon Granita

Plus 5 Instant Fruit Desserts!


5 INSTANT FRUIT DESSERTS: First, let me share the five really fabulous fresh fruit desserts that take just a couple minutes to put together:

Minted Pineapple:  Peel and slice fresh pineapple and top with mint sugar (grind two tablespoons of sugar into a half- cup of fresh mint leaves with a spoon or mortar and pestle until mint is shredded) Sprinkle mint/sugar mixture over sliced pineapple and let guests serve themselves.

Fruit Foster:  Cut peeled bananas, apples, pears, peaches, plums or apricots lengthwise in half (discarding pits).  Saute in a little butter, rum, cinnamon and brown sugar for 2-4 minutes, turning half-way through cooking.  Serve with dollop of whipped cream, crème fraiche or yogurt.

Fruit Fondue:  Melt 6-8 ounces of chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in microwave for 10-20 seconds until just warmed. Have guests dip sliced pears, figs, banana, strawberries, raspberries, and dried fruit in chocolate.  Options: Roll chocolate dipped fruit in chopped nuts or use white chocolate. Alternatively, you may simply want to dip fruit into chocolate and let it cool on wax paper or aluminum foil for “Chocolate Dipped Fruit”.

Brown Sugar Strawberries:
Dip whole fresh strawberries in sour cream and then roll them in brown sugar and eat.

Berry Brulee: Mix 2 cups sweetened whipped cream with 1 pint blackberries, raspberries or blueberries.  Place cream and berry mixture into 4 dessert bowls and sprinkle with a thick layer of brown sugar. Using a torch or broiler, caramelize the sugar until it gets bubbly and darkens.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for 15 minutes to let sugar harden.

Now, here are my 5 No-Bake Desserts with Fresh Fruit!

1) Chocolate Mousse With Fruit And Cream
One Christmas, my sister in law gave me a cooking class as a gift and during that class we learned to make this great chocolate mousse.  I love serving it topped with fresh raspberries, strawberries, pitted sweet cherries or sliced bananas. I urge you to use heavy cream and whip it yourself rather than using Ready Whip or canned whipped cream – the mousse will be firmer and richer.   However, I’ve even made this with “light” whipped cream and Splenda and it tasted light and wonderful! Chocolate burns very easily so melt chocolate at very low heat on stove top or for only 10 seconds at a time in microwave

6 ounces good quality dark chocolate
¼ cup milk (I use 2%) with
Pinch of salt
4 cups of whipped cream (heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar is best, but even light sweetened whipped cream works)
2 cups fresh berries or fruit cut into bite sized pieces

Place 6 oz. of the chocolate in a small saucepan. Add the milk and salt to the saucepan and gently heat the mixture until the chocolate melts, whisking until smooth. Set aside to cool completely. Once cool, gently fold cream in the cooled chocolate until just combined Spoon the mousse into 4 individual cups or glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until set. Before serving, top with fresh berries or cut up fruit. 

•    Butterscotch Mousse: replace dark chocolate with butterscotch chips (like chocolate chips) and top with bananas, sautéed apples or pears.
•    White Chocolate Mousse: replace dark chocolate with white chocolate and top with blueberries, blackberries or strawberries.
•    Fruit Mousse: Replace chocolate with 3 cups fruit. Make 1 cup of the fruit into a sweet puree (1 cup of fresh berries or peeled, pitted stone fruit mixed with ¼ cup sugar). Fold fruit puree into whipped cream and place in 4 individual cups or glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Top with the rest of the fresh fruit before serving.

2) Fruit Cheesecake Bowls
This is one of the most impressive and quickest desserts I’ve ever made.  Everyone loves it and it has many variations. I love serving this with a delicate cookie or chocolate truffles on the side and after dinner liqueur or port.

8 oz. cream cheese (regular, whipped, light or non-fat works equally well)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. fresh berries, pineapple, or chopped and peeled stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, mango)

Mix cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla by hand, with a mixer or with a food processor until smooth.  Add half the fruit, and mix until fruit is lightly crushed.

Divide cheesecake mixture evenly among 4 dessert bowls or wine glasses and garnish with whipped cream and berries. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. 

If you wish, top with crumbled cookies, graham cracker crumbs, chopped nuts or seeds or crushed peanut brittle before serving.

Crusty: Add a crust by lining a muffin tin with muffin papers and placing round shortbread or other plain sweet vanilla, oatmeal or chocolate cookie upside down to bottom of paper. Proceed with recipe and divide cheesecake mixture among muffin tins.  Unmold gently after refrigeration leaving cookie crust on the bottom and top with berries.
Spirited: Add ¼ cup liqueur of your choice (e.g. Bailey’s Irish Cream, Grand Marnier) to cheesecake mixture.
Italian: Replace half the cream cheese with ricotta and 1/3 cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup powdered or confectioner’s sugar. 
Fragrant Berries:  Top berries with 1-2 tablespoons kirsch or framboise or other fruit liqueur or, 2 tablespoons Rosewater or Orange water and a pinch of sugar. Proceed with recipe using Fragrant Berries in the cheesecake.

3) Key Lime Pie
When we moved to South Florida for the winters, our native Florida friends told us this is the way to make REAL key lime pie.  Northerners like to top key lime pie with meringue and they like a graham cracker crust.  Native Floridians tend to use a plain flour and butter crust with a dab of whipped cream. I personally like graham cracker crust because it requires no cooking at all. 

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
4 oz. key lime or lime juice
1 tbsp grated lime peel (optional)

Combine milk and eggs. Slowly add juice, mix thoroughly. Pour into 9 inch graham cracker pie crust shell. Refrigerate 4-6 hours.

Graham Cracker Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (put crackers in plastic bag and crush with rolling pin until crumbled evenly)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
Pinch of cinnamon

Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until well-combined.  Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate or tin.

Lemon: replace lime juice with lemon juice and lime peel with lemon peel
Grapefruit: replace lime juice with grapefruit juice and lime peel with grapefruit peel
Chocolate Crust: Replace Graham cracker crumbs with chocolate cooking crumbs
Ginger snap or Vanilla Crust: Replace Graham cracker crumbs with ginger snap or vanilla wafer crumbs
Fruit topped: Top citrus pie with chopped fruit or berries

4) Apple Nut Tart
This is a very healthy and flexible little tart that uses ground dried fruit and nuts for the crust (no butter) and just enough sugar to sweeten the fresh fruit.  It is absolutely delicious! My most luscious tart included dried apricots and walnuts with a filling two fruits…one layer of applesauce and a layer of blueberries cooked with port!  I suspect making this with a layer of fig jam, apples and topping it with blue cheese would create a rococo masterpiece!  This tart may also be made with graham cracker crust (see Key Lime Pie) or half crushed nuts and half graham crackers (just replace half the graham crackers with ground nuts and proceed with graham cracker crust recipe.

2 ½ cups walnuts, pecans or almonds
1 ½ cups dried fruit (e.g. chopped pitted dates, raisins, dried apricots)
Pinch of salt
3 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp of honey
1/2 cup apple juice, port or water

Combine walnuts and dried fruit in food processor. Process until well mixed and ground, but not smooth (about 40 seconds). It should be a coarse texture when done. Press evenly into a 9-inch tart pan. Set in refrigerator while making the filling.

Slice apples by cutting into quarters. Cut out core and slice crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices.
Place apples in a large skillet with rest of the ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently on medium heat.  Remove apples with a slotted spoon into a bowl and cool completely.  Cook remaining liquid in pan until reduced to half, then cool.

Spread cooked apples evenly over crust. Brush apple-juice syrup over apples. The tart can be served right away or it will keep in refrigerator until needed. Keep tart covered in refrigerator so it doesn't pick up moisture. Top with whipped cream, crème fraiche or ice cream if desired.

Pear Nut Tart:  replace apples with pears
Berry Nut Tart: replace apples with 3 cups pitted berries whole (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) or sliced in half (e.g. strawberries).  Proceed with cooking instructions for filling and after 10 minutes, mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup water and stir into warm berry mixture to thicken.  Once thickened, take off heat and when cooled, pour into tart crust and refrigerate. No need to reduce liquid or glaze the berry tart.

5) Lemon Granita
1 1⁄2 cups fresh lemon juice (juice of 8–9 lemons)
1⁄2 cup sugar or more (or artificial sweetener) – make sure to taste it before freezing.

Put lemon juice, sugar, and 1 cup water into a medium bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves completely, about 3 minutes.  Pour lemon juice mixture into a medium baking dish and transfer to the freezer. Using the tines of a fork, stir mixture every 30 minutes, scraping edges and breaking up any chunks as the mixture freezes, until granita is slushy and frozen, about 4 hours.

Fruit Granita: Replace lemon juice with equal amount of fresh fruit juice (apple, cranberry, orange, lime, grapefruit, mango nectar, pomegranate) adjusting sugar to your personal taste and proceed with recipe.
Granita in ice cube tray: Rather than scraping mixture with a fork every half hour, simply pour granite liquid into ice cube trays and when frozen, place cubes in blender and whizz until it resembles ice cream (frozen slush).

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