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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Dessert completes meal

To me, a dinner without dessert seems incomplete. Even if it’s just a cookie or a piece of fruit, these last few bites can leave you feeling satisfied. Isn’t that why desserts were created? There’s nothing like a little indulgence before you leave the dinner table. At least, that’s my opinion. Hopefully, these recipes will help you to see things my way.

Today, I want to share with you three very different desserts. They both are great accompaniments to any meal. The first is a fruit based dessert, Blueberry Spoon Bread. The second features a flavor that most have loved since childhood, Chocolate Meringue Pie. The third uses a favorite Centola family ingredient, Peanut Butter Fudge. After you collect the sugar from your pantry, Let’s head to the kitchen!

Blueberry Spoon Bread

I know it’s a little soon for peak blueberry season here in Arkansas. This is a great dessert that can also double as breakfast. Don’t let the grits fool you. They add great texture to this recipe.

2 1/2 cups apple juice

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups quick grits

5 tablespoons butter, divided

6 large eggs, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350℉. Position oven rack in center and place a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9x11-inch baking dish inside the oven to preheat.

Combine apple juice, brown sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring almost to a boil. Gradually add quick grits while stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Stir continuously until mixture is thick, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter; let mixture sit until cooled to the touch. Add eggs and baking powder; mix well.

Remove cast-iron skillet or baking dish from oven. Add 2 tablespoons butter; carefully swirl melted butter to grease entire inside surface. Spoon batter into hot skillet. Evenly distribute blueberries over top. Return to oven and bake for 55 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Nothing screams dessert more to me than chocolate. Here is a very traditional dessert. It is made untraditionally by making the filling in the microwave.

2 eggs, separated

1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/3 cup chocolate syrup

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 cup whole milk

1 9-inch prepared pie crust

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine egg yolks, flour, chocolate syrup, 1 cup sugar, and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir, microwave at high power for 4 minutes; repeat process twice. Pour mixture into pie shell. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375℉.

Add egg whites and cream of tartar to a large bowl; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in remaining sugar and vanilla. Mound meringue atop pie; covering filling completely. Bake until meringue is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Chill before serving.

Peanut Butter Fudge

Here’s a great recipe for a small treat that’s great anytime. It’s a quickly made recipe that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and milk to a boil. Allow to boil for about 2 1/2 minutes, stirring regularly, and then remove from heat. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pan and allow to cool until set. Slice into 1-inch squares to serve.

I know that there are many desserts that you can get in stores. If you don’t want to dirty your kitchen, at least find a bakery or someone who specializes in desserts. You owe it to yourself to make the last bite of your dinner the best one.

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