Great dessert ideas for a Mother's Day dinner
I know that some say using Wikipedia can result in you becoming “semi-informed” but I often flick to it for a quick reference. A look at its entry for Mother’s Day told me a campaign to make Mother’s Day a national day began in 1905 in America, when Civil War peace-activist Ann Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. Apart from the work she started with Mother’s Day work clubs that were concerned with health issues at the time, Jarvis also believed mothers deserved a national day of recognition because a mother is the person “who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. Argue with that!
You could go off and buy the most expensive gift you can afford, or a gift that shows you have thought deeply about what you mother would really like, but I firmly believe the best gift is something that is an expression of your time and skill — and I don’t mean as a personal shopper. Preparing food is a genuine expression of this, much more sensitive than showing that you trawled around smart shops. I am also sure that most mums will understand this as they have to dream up meals every day and understand what goes into catering.
I like the idea that some cultures, for example Indian, believe that sweet experiences are a time for sweet food — so how about a great dessert for a Mother’s Day dinner?
Make your own raspberry rosé jelly by dissolving 1½ Tbsp of powdered gelatine in a few tablespoons of boiling water and adding 500ml of rosé wine, sugar to sweeten and crushed freeze-dried raspberries. Set in a shallow dish, cut into cubes, pile in tall glasses, drizzle generously with coconut cream so it looks like pink marble and serve with more whole freeze-dried raspberries on top.
Make a berry napoleon — roll out two squares of madewith- butter flaky puff pastry, prick all over with a fork, place on baking sheets and bake at 200C for about 20-25 minutes or until well cooked. Remove from the oven, cool and trim the edges with a sharp knife so they are straight. Make a sandwich out of the two squares of pastry and fill with whipped sweetened cream and fresh or well-drained, thawed frozen berries. Dust the top with a blizzard of icing sugar. Branding grill marks in the icing sugar with a red hot skewer is optional.
Soak pitted, chopped prunes in sweet sherry (Pedro Ximenez is perfect) for 30 minutes. Halve a homemade or bought chocolate sponge cake and fill with whipped cream, the soaked prunes and chopped dark chocolate. Dust the top with cocoa and serve in wedges.
Apple and rhubarb almond crumble is easy. Place lots of peeled, sliced apples and sliced rhubarb in an even layer in a shallow ovenproof dish. Stir in the zest of a lemon and brown sugar to sweeten. Make a crumble top from 75g butter, ¼ cup of brown sugar, ½ cup each flour and ground almonds whizzed up in the food processor until crumbly, then spread over the fruit. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the top browned and crisp. Serve warm with liquid cream.
Place whole unskinned bananas side by side on an ovenproof tray and bake at 200C until black and bursting. Serve slit open with scoops of coconut icecream, a drizzle of rum, lime zest and coconut cream.
An oldie but a goodie: thread fresh, peeled pineapple cubes on soaked bamboo skewers, dust each in a little icing sugar and place under a hot grill, turning occasionally, until browned and hot. Serve with chocolate icecream and slices of bought orange cake or loaf also toasted under the grill and whipped cream.
Make a chia pudding in small glasses with 3 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1 cup of coconut milk. Pile sliced peeled mangoes or scooped-out feijoa halves on top and drizzle well with a syrup made by heating plenty of crushed gula melaka (dark Malaysian palm sugar) with a little water until dissolved, then cooling and chilling it. Serve with coconut cream for pouring.
Buy or make some sweet short pastry tartlet cases. Fill with mascarpone mixed with crushed amaretti biscuits and fresh passionfruit pulp. Sprinkle more coarsely crushed amaretti on top.
Heat 250ml cream until boiling, remove from the heat and stir in 250g chopped dark chocolate until smooth to make ganache. Pour into a bowl for dipping and serve warm on a platter with neat piles of savoiardi or sponge finger biscuits, soft dried figs, roasted unsalted almonds and brazil nuts, peeled, cored fresh pineapple cubes, peeled pear slices tossed in lemon juice and sliced oranges that have been peeled with a sharp knife.
Roll out some made-with-butter sweet short pastry into a large disc shape and place on a baking paper-lined oven tray. Put a pile of peeled, cored quince and/or pear slices in the middle. Sprinkle with brown sugar, walnuts and fresh thyme sprigs then fold the pastry over the fruit so it almost covers it. Brush the outside with beaten egg then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes or until very well cooked. Remove from the oven and serve warm with bought or homemade custard and liquid cream.
For more see our autumn dessert recipe collection on bite.co.nz