Robin Anish: Keep the oven off with luscious no-bake desserts

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Call me crazy, but I think I know what it feels like to be a flower about to burst into bloom!

After weeks and weeks of quarantine, through the dwindling days of winter and into a rather bleak spring season, it's these gloriously warm, sunny days of late that have made me feel like I've finally broken dormancy and sprung into bloom.

I'll bet we all are appreciating the warmth and sunshine, the trees leafing out, flowers blooming and the smell of freshly mowed grass like never before. Thank goodness we don't have to distance ourselves from Mother Nature.

You know what else has broken dormancy? Barbecue! Hamburgers and hotdogs sizzling over the coals, dinner on the deck; and since it's too hot to bake, two luscious refrigerator desserts.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE LASAGNA

Ingredients:

4 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 boxes Nilla Wafers

1 1/2 pounds strawberries, thinly sliced

Directions:

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In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla just until the cream forms stiff peaks. Do not over beat.

In a 9-by-13-inch pan, spread a thin layer of whipped cream. Top with a layer of Nilla Wafers and spread 1/3 of remaining whipped cream on top. Top with a layer of strawberries. Repeat two times, ending with strawberries. Sprinkle with crushed Nilla Wafers.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until Nilla Wafers are soft, at least 3 hours, before serving.

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NUTELLA BANANA PUDDING

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Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

1 (3.4-oz) package instant chocolate pudding

2/3 cup Nutella, plus more for garnish

2 cups heavy cream, chilled, for pudding

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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2 or 3 ripe bananas, sliced about 1/4-inch thick

1 16 ounce package vanilla wafers

1 cup heavy cream, chilled, for garnish

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts or peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine milk and chocolate pudding mix and whisk to combine. Place Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on low until pourable, 20 to 30 seconds. Fold Nutella into chocolate pudding and refrigerate until cold.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups heavy cream and vanilla. Beat just until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat. Fold whipped cream into the cold pudding mixture.

In a trifle dish, deep 8-inch bowl or casserole, arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding.

Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to 8 hours.

When ready to serve, combine 1 cup heavy cream with sugar and vanilla. Beat just until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat. Spread cream over pudding and sprinkle with nuts.


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