OF ALL easy conjuring tricks, none is quite so simple for the housewife, as to whisk an instantaneous dessert on to the table. Stock your shelves with some or all of the following articles, then rest secure in the knowledge that you can meet any emergency.
Dates, raisins, figs, preserved and canned fruits.
Jams, jellies, honey.
In shells, shelled, salted.
Roquefort, Camembert, Imperial.
Fancy crackers and cookies, fruit cake.
Plum and fig puddings.
Jelly powders (fruit and wine flavors), pudding powders, pie fillings (mince meat, lemon cream and so forth), cake flour.
Marshmallow cream; prepared icing in jars; candied cherries and violets; angelica; crystallized orange peel and ginger.
No one who has dates, nuts and raising in the house is without dessert. Canned fruit can be glorified by sprinkling with chopped nuts and maraschino or candied cherries, or by placing it on fancy packaged cookies or cake, topping off the whole with whipped or marshmallow cream. Jam piled on toasted crackers with chopped salted nuts makes a good finish to a meal. Sweet crackers and fancy cookies can be made more elaborate with toasted marshmallows, or with marshmallow cream and chopped ginger, cherries or nuts. For many people, the most satisfactory dessert is just cheese and crackers with coffee.
Prepared jelly powders take but a minute for actual preparation, although sufficient time must be allowed for them to stiffen. Sirup from your canned fruit, stiffened with plain gelatine (2 tablespoons gelatine for 1 quart juice) makes a delicious and wholesome dessert. A double quantity of gelatine makes the jelly stiffen more quickly.
There are excellent prepared cake flours on the market containing flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, egg and milk. You need only stir these up with water and bake. Baked as cup cakes they make delicious cottage pudding to be served with any quick sauce.
For frostings use quick frosting (recipe 29), marshmallow cream, or bottled icings according to directions. Another frosting is to cover the top of the cake with marshmallows; return to the oven to-melt them.
Quick sauces for cakes and puddings can be made from marshmallow cream plain or flavored; and from thickened fruit juices. Maple and caramel sirups with chopped nuts make delicious sauces. If whipping cream happens to be on hand, a dessert can be made very attractive and appetizing.
Do you like shortcake? Then try these quick ones. Turn to the recipe for drop biscuit (page 12), double the quality of shortening it calls for and bake. Split the cakes in halves, butter them and cover halves with canned or preserved fruit. Some kinds of packaged crackers can be used for shortcakes.
Prepared pudding mixtures do away with assembling and measuring materials. A quick finish for them is to sprinkle a mixture of grated chocolate thickly over the top while the pudding is still hot. This forms a rich, inviting crust.
Some of the familiar puddings are time savers if you make them in the morning while you are washing the breakfast dishes. Among such are: junket, creamy rice pudding, Indian pudding, cornstarch and tapioca desserts and custards. Hot gingerbread is a general favorite which can be made quickly at the last moment.