Fantastic desserts

Poached Fruit and Ice Cream
Serves 6

Visit your local whole foods store and you’ll find a healthy array of dried fruit, from dried apricots and plums to dried mango and cherries. Keep a colorful assortment on hand at home – dried fruit is a naturally sweet snack and you can quickly turn it into an impressive pretty dessert.

10 ounces assorted dried fruit
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Thin strips of orange zest

1. Place fruit, butter, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until fruit is tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Serve spooned over ice cream. Garnish with orange zest.

Winter dessert recipes

Apple Crisp
Makes 6 servings

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Whipped cream or Ice cream, if desired

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Arrange apples in the bottom of the pan. In a bowl, rub together brown sugar, flour, oats, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined. Sprinkle mixture over apples.

3. Bake crisp for 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and top with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to serve.

Berry Crumble

Makes 6 servings

2 pints of raspberries
1 large package marshmallows
1 pint whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine raspberries, marshmallows and whipped cream.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, rub together brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter. Layer berry mixture and flour mixture in baking pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until fruit is soft and topping is lightly browned.

Strawberry Tart
Makes 6 servings

3 ounces butter, chilled
3/4 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1 to 2 pints of strawberries, trimmed
1/4 cup currant jelly, heated

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut butter into flour, salt and sugar until crumbly. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and knead until a ball forms. Chill at least 1 hour.

2. Roll out pastry until it is a 1-inch thick disc. Line a 9-inch tart pan with dough. Line the dough with tin foil and fill with dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove foil and dried beans. Let cool until ready to fill.

3. Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla. Spread cream in tart shell and top with strawberries. Use a pastry brush to spread currant jelly on berries.