Strawberry & Mascarpone Dacquoise
Vanilla-flavoured mascarpone and strawberry slices sandwiched between thin sheets of moist almond meringue (the only component that you need to bake for a total of twelve short minutes). Easy enough to make and bound to please.
Mango Jelly & Coconut Panna Cotta
More fuss-free than the dacquoise - set one layer then the next and it sits in the fridge waiting to be devoured.
The Ultimate Cheat's Dessert
But this crème caramel! It takes the cake! I didn't have to caramelise sugar to a golden brown. No baking of fiddly tiny moulds in a messy water bath, constantly worrying about under- or over-cooking them.
All that I have to do the next time we throw a dinner party is send the boyfriend (he discovered these little beauties) down to our local supermarket to grab some, keep them chilled, pop them out when it's time for dessert and wait for guests to lavish praise.
Maggie Beer first got me hooked here, and then again here. She's got me good this time for her crème caramel is...classic! The caramel is "burnt" to the right bitter sweetness and the vanilla custard is a textural dream. If another cheat served it to me at a dinner party, I wouldn't think it was store-bought. A time-saving idiot-proof dessert that is utterly delicious at AU$4(!) per pop. Why not?