Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer Fruit Dessert

I've been making this easy dessert for the Fourth of July holiday for several years. It's a decently easy layered desert and can be eaten warm right after you put it together or cold after chilling in the fridge. I'll give you both the long, really awesome, have a couple hours in the kitchen knock-your-socks off version and the really speedy quick but still yummy version at the end. ENJOY!

Knock-Your-Socks-off Version
I like to make the cakes and get the strawberries and blueberries freshly picked if possible. We were regulars at Boone Hall Plantation's strawberry fields many times every summer in South Carolina so we always had strawberries on hand for this yummy dish.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake
Two packages vanilla cook & serve pudding mix
(or Watkins Dessert Mix -double the pudding recipe)
Milk (for pudding mix)
Fresh strawberries (two 1-lb pkgs from store)
2 slightly green bananas (easier to cut)
Fresh blueberries (one small pack)
1 Fresh Kiwi
Few tablespoons sugar or Splenda
Whipped topping

Prepare the pound cake first. While that is baking, cut/quarter the strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of sugar or Splenda on top, then mix gently. Cover and place in the fridge to chill.

After pound cake is done, set it aside to cool and prepare the pudding according to package directions. Set pudding aside to cool. (Pudding doesn't need to be cold-set because you will need to pour it, but it does need to be cool enough you don't break/crack/melt the container you will put the dessert in.)

After pudding and cake have cooled a bit, tear chunks of cake into bite-size pieces and use to cover the bottom of a trifle dish (or other deep bowl/dish), pour about 1/3 of the pudding over the cake pieces, just enough to cover. Cut a banana to thin slices to layer over the pudding. Then layer the strawberries over the bananas. I use about a half a banana and probably 1-1/2 cups of strawberries per layer. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top of those. Then repeat the layers two more times: cake, pudding, fruit. I usually have a little cake and pudding left so I do a small 4th layer on the top center with just a few pieces of fruit to decorate. Peel the kiwi and cut some slices to decorate around the top and one or two wedges in the center. Refrigerate until chilled to serve. Dollop some whipped topping between the kiwi slices before serving or individually on bowl as you serve.

Easy Peasy Cheater Version
The super speedy but still tastes great way is to use store-bought pound cakes (Sara Lee is good) or an angel food cake, a large container of vanilla pudding or vanilla yogurt, bagged frozen quartered strawberries (or the mixed fruit bag if you can find one with strawberries, blueberries and even peaches too). If you set the frozen fruit out just before you start working, it should be pretty well thawed after you get the whole thing together. Layer ingredients as stated above. You can also leave out the blueberries and kiwi and it still is an awesome, none-left-over dessert!


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