Since writing about Jennifer's Bundt-turned-trifle adventure, the Literate Baker has been receiving a variety of questions and requests. I'm always looking to spread the love of baking and all things baked, so I'm happy to announce the official start of "Ask the Literate Baker." If you have questions or are in search of a sweet treat, send me an email and I'll see what I can do!
Today's request comes from Annie in Oregon. As a business owner and a mom, time for baking is always scarce. She writes...
There's an idea, baking that takes less than 30 minutes from beginning to out of the oven... can I request a post about this? The dessert that can wow utilizing quick prep and ingredients one is likely to have on hand?
Well, Annie, the first thing that comes to mind is puff pastry. I think the Pepperidge Farm brand can be found in just about every grocery store in the country. It's easy to keep in the freezer, has an inherent wow factor, and bakes very quickly. It also plays well with a plethora of other flavors and ingredients.
If you have sheets, you can make a tart shell by cutting a one-inch strip from each side of the square, then attaching said strips to the remaining square with a touch of beaten egg. Once baked, you can spread the inside with Nutella or even pre-made or instant pudding. Add fresh fruit and you're good to go. If you have a little bit more time, spread the unbaked shell with purchased caramel sauce, add thinly sliced apples or pears, and drizzle with more sauce. Bake until the apples are tender and the shell is golden brown. You can also buy puff pastry in ready-to-bake shells. These single-serve delights bake even faster and can be filled with just about anything.
My other favorite no-one-seems-to-know-how-easy-this-is dessert is Bananas Foster. Bananas Foster? you ask, incredulously. Bananas Foster. Here's how you do it...
Melt two tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a skillet; cook until bubbly. (You can add a handful of pecans or slivered almonds at this point, if you'd like.) Add two bananas that you've sliced in half then split lengthwise; cook just until the bananas start to soften. Remove from heat and add 2 oz spiced rum. Carefully ignite with a match or lighter, gently shaking pan until flames die out. Serve over vanilla (or butter pecan) ice cream.
I hope I've inspired you to try more desserts on the fly. Whether it's last-minute company or simply laundry day, quick and easy baking is a great way to..
Keep it sweet.