5 Things

5 Easy Desserts to Entertain With

By • April 23, 2014 • 40 Comments

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All week long Jody Williams, the chef at New York's beloved Buvette restaurant, will be sharing recipes from her new book, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food

Today: For dessert, Jody gets back to basics with the essential, crowd-pleasing sweets. 

Wine and Cheese on Food52

There are desserts that punctuate a dinner with applause or a burst of song, and then there are desserts that quietly carry on the conversation into evening and often another glass of wine.

Here are five easy ways to keep your guest lingering at the table, and you in your seat: 

1. Do not underestimate a plate of seasonal whole fresh fruit, like persimmons or green figs. Serve with a plate, napkin, and a knife and fork so the guest can peel and cut their fruit. Cherries and grapes on ice are my favorites. Bring kitchen shears to the table to trim free grape stems. 

More: Pair that fruit with a cloud of ricotta and mascarpone.

Lagne e Lenticchie (Lentils and Noodles) on Food52

2. Raspberries in Moscato or shaved pears soaked with a sauterne are elegant enough to save you time in the kitchen without loosing any pleasure.

3. Fresh or dried fruit dipped in chocolate is elegant and simple. I prefer dried fruit like figs or cape berries

Spaghetti Carbonara

4. A plate of teaspoons full of chocolate mousse, or even a savory twist to extend the meal with a spoonful of camembert and honey is just enough to be indulgent even when satiated. 

5. Bring a tray of digestifs, glassware, and ice, plus an invitation to help oneself. After all, they will know just how much to pour.


Photos by James Ransom

Tags: 5 Things, Jody Williams, Buvette, dessert

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Comments (40)


12 months ago Patricia

Fruit is such a glorious way to end a great meal. (But I wouldn't turn down the spoonful of chocolate mousse.)


12 months ago anne.braden

Bit of cheese and/or fruit and aperitif is all one needs


12 months ago cucina di mammina

Le dolci in Italia are also very simple and light... I do not favor heavy sweets, but do love fruits with liquore and biscotti with my wine and fruit. Wonderful article about keeping it simple and beautiful.


12 months ago Alyse Viggiano

Brilliance and beautiful. Thank you for sharing and inspiring us to use simple ingredients to make elegant dishes.


12 months ago dandelioneyes

Gorgeous! I'm also a fan of liquer (limoncello or framboise) over ice cream, with pound cake or fruits if I'm feeling energetic.


12 months ago Diane Janofsky Rooney

Love using seasonal fruits. Great simple ideas to try.


12 months ago Martha Brown

The photos in this spread are stunning ...


12 months ago Katherine Tracey

Why do I always have to make dessert so involved? This is the perfect ending to a meal and so easy.


12 months ago CarlaCooks

One of my favorite simple fall desserts is soft persimmons, cut in half and drenched in either cognac or brandy. Really simple, really tasty, and not too heavy.


12 months ago Paula

Easy, fun n different!


12 months ago Nancy Giunta

So inviting…I would linger with this all evening instead of heading back to clean the kitchen. More time with guests…with simple special treats


12 months ago mkate72 @ pbpickles

All great ideas! Anything to keep me with the party instead of alone in the kitchen :)


12 months ago Jennifer Essex

Mmmm, dessert charcuterie!


12 months ago Michelle Curry

Simple and great ideas!


12 months ago Dasha

Iced fruit? Hmmm... Not so much...


12 months ago Claire Oliverson

I love your idea of fresh cherries or grapes on ice. I will have to try it soon - thanks for the great post!


12 months ago Amukta Ambati

Fresh seasonal fruits is always a win. Love the ideas...so simple and satisfying.


12 months ago Shelley Christie Tucker

Love these ideas!


12 months ago Cinnamon Cappel

Loving all the comments and suggestions. Now to plan a dinner party.


12 months ago Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

I love all of these suggestions, especially never underestimating the glory of seasonal fruit (as dessert)! Cherries and grapes served over ice both sound delightfully elegant. :)