5 Easy Desserts to Entertain With

April 23, 2014

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.

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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

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Patricia
  • anne.braden
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • Alyse Viggiano
    Alyse Viggiano
  • dandelioneyes
Self taught cook, Traveler


Patricia April 25, 2014
Fruit is such a glorious way to end a great meal. (But I wouldn't turn down the spoonful of chocolate mousse.)
anne.braden April 24, 2014
Bit of cheese and/or fruit and aperitif is all one needs
cucina D. April 24, 2014
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.
Alyse V. April 24, 2014
Brilliance and beautiful. Thank you for sharing and inspiring us to use simple ingredients to make elegant dishes.
dandelioneyes April 24, 2014
Gorgeous! I'm also a fan of liquer (limoncello or framboise) over ice cream, with pound cake or fruits if I'm feeling energetic.
Diane J. April 24, 2014
Love using seasonal fruits. Great simple ideas to try.
Martha B. April 24, 2014
The photos in this spread are stunning ...
Katherine T. April 24, 2014
Why do I always have to make dessert so involved? This is the perfect ending to a meal and so easy.
CarlaCooks April 24, 2014
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.
Paula April 24, 2014
Easy, fun n different!
Nancy G. April 24, 2014
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
mkate72 @. April 23, 2014
All great ideas! Anything to keep me with the party instead of alone in the kitchen :)
Jennifer E. April 23, 2014
Mmmm, dessert charcuterie!
Michelle C. April 23, 2014
Simple and great ideas!
Dasha April 23, 2014
Iced fruit? Hmmm... Not so much...
Claire O. April 23, 2014
I love your idea of fresh cherries or grapes on ice. I will have to try it soon - thanks for the great post!
Amukta A. April 23, 2014
Fresh seasonal fruits is always a win. Love the simple and satisfying.
Shelley T. April 23, 2014
Love these ideas!
Cinnamon C. April 23, 2014
Loving all the comments and suggestions. Now to plan a dinner party.
Allison (. April 23, 2014
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. :)