20 quick and easy midweek desserts
With just five or so ingredients, you can create these remarkably easy desserts quick-smart.
Always keep key ingredients on hand: pastry, frozen berries, chocolate, nuts and versatile fruits such as bananas (freeze some of these too) and apples. And it pays to have a tub of ice cream stashed to serve alongside dessert as well.
Some recipes will require a little preparation, multi-tasking and chill time so get organized and you’ll have dessert sorted in under 30 minutes. These are our pick of desserts for the busy weeknight menu.
To find these recipes and more midweek desserts ideas, head to our easy desserts collection.
We love Nadia Lim’s chocolate avocado mousse. She says, “Using avocados in desserts is one of the healthy dessert maker's best-kept secrets; their smooth creamy texture lends itself well to ice creams, gelatos, cheesecakes and chocolate mousse (instead of using cream), yet its flavour is so subtle no one would ever guess.” Serve these in beautiful glasses and garnish with chocolate shavings, berries or stewed fruit, or watch Ray McVinnie make chocolate shards that'll add a special touch.
It doesn’t get any easier than this berry sorbet. It’s a burst of cool and fresh berry flavours that will transport you back to summer days. You’ll need a good blender to whizz the frozen berries into a sorbet slurry.
Jan Bilton created this salted chocolate bark with Christmas gifts in mind, but we enjoy this year-round for its simplicity and ease of preparation. Sweet and salty flavours combine nicely with the dark chocolate and roasted pistachios.
This cheat's fruit brulee can be made in 15 minutes and any fruit (ideally fresh, but tinned works too) can be used, making it wonderfully versatile. Top with cream and then drizzle with caramel. It’s crunchy, sweet and, with a little Cointreau or liquor of your choice to taste, it's also super delicious.
Amanda Laird’s chocolate puddings incorporate roasted hazelnuts to give it a substantial and wholesome touch. Serve these decadent mini puddings hot with a side of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Banana ice creams
Aaron Brunet's lassi ice cream is a popular choice because of its exotic flavours. He keeps a stash of frozen mango and bananas so this dessert can be made quickly. Use either fresh or tinned mangoes, just be sure to drain the juice before freezing.
Alternatively, try Nadia Lim's banana and honey ice cream... also made by whizzing frozen bananas and yoghurt into a creamy dessert or if berries are your thing, this banana and raspberry soft serve will delight.
A tarte Tatin is one of our favourite go-to recipes for the midweek dessert. Fruit is caramlised in butter and sugar (and sometimes a liquor like brandy or rum is added) and served on flaky pastry that is flipped upside-down after it has baked. Traditionally, apples (see this apple tarte Tatin) are the fruit of choice however apricots, pears (see this pear tarte Tatin), feijoa, figs and even bananas work just as well.
Nadia Lim's apricot tarte Tatin uses just four ingredients - butter, sugar, pastry and apricots - and she serves it with Greek yoghurt. When in season, use fresh apricots otherwise tinned aprciots (drained well) will do the trick.
Karena and Kasey have combined two classic flavours – banana and caramel – into a simple and stunning dessert. The soft, sweet bananas are a great contrast to the crunch of the golden flaky pastry in this banana tarte Tatin. We serve this warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
These lemon tarts are an exceptionally easy dessert to make, and one that can be made ahead of time. Making your own pastry only takes about 10 minutes, but we recommend using store-bought pastry as the easy option. Best thing about these tarts - they're as good for the midweek dessert with the family or a fancy dinner party with friends. Serve with cream and when in season, fresh berries too.
If you feel like a sweet treat to finish a hard day, glazed apples basically give you everything you love about tarte Tatin but without all that pastry. Most of us have a couple of apples on hand and glazing them takes only five minutes. The maple walnuts add a gorgeous texture and along with the ice cream, turn a humble apple into something else.
These thin pear tarts never fail to impress when they come out of the oven. Crisp and golden pastry combined with caramelised fruit is just magical. Pears produce a fine tart, with a luscious flavour, or you can substitute with apples (cooking variety) making sure you cut these into larger slices so they retain their shape and firm texture. Another great pudding to serve with ice cream.
There is plenty of fun to be had with this chocolate fondue from Angela Casley. Raid your top shelf to add a favourite liqueur (Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kirsch, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Frangelico) and use seasonal fruit and marshmallows for dipping into the luscious melted chocolate sauce.
Ray McVinnie’s jam tarts are a revelation. He uses a good quality butter pastry and blind bakes them in a matter of minutes. While the pastry is in the oven, he makes an easy 10-minute jam, however you can easily substitute with whatever jam you have in your pantry.
These sweet morsels make the perfect end to a meal. It is essential to use fresh dates — the dry ones can be a bit chewy. They're a gluten-, dairy- and refined sugar free treat that will hit the sweet spot every time. Learn how to make your own homemade almond butter or use a store-bought version.
Use soft fruits of choice, such as peaches, pears, feijoas and apples. Poached fruit stores well in the fridge or freezer, so just pull it out and serve with cream or ice cream when you're ready for dessert.