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5 Quick and Easy Stovetop Desserts

Jar of lemon curd with mini lemon curd tartlets on cutting boardSometimes you just don’t feel like firing up the oven, but you still want a homemade dessert. Never fear – you don’t have to skip the sweets, and you don’t have to slave over the stove.

Lots of desserts – including panna cotta and Chocolate toffee – can be cooked on the stove instead of inside the oven, and they aren’t tough to master. Here are 5 quick and easy stovetop dessert recipes to try.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream

Chocolate Mousse

The classic recipe for this elegant dessert calls for uncooked eggs, but many recipes, like the one below, taste great and don’t use uncooked eggs. Here, the Egg Yolks cook in the hot Cream. Just be careful that you don’t get them too hot, or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.

1 cup of heavy cream
1½ cups of heavy cream, cold
4 egg yolks from large eggs
3 tbsp. sugar (add an extra tbsp. if you like it sweet)
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips or pistoles)

1. Beat egg yolks on high until they become thick and the color turns lighter. Then beat in the sugar.
2. Heat 1 cup of cream until hot (but not boiling), then temper the eggs with it: add about a third of the hot cream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, and then add the next third, and then the final third. Put it all back in the saucepan where you heated up the cream.
3. Cook on low until the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t get too hot and curdle.
4. Add in the chocolate and stir.
5. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool enough, chill in refrigerator for a couple hours.
6. Beat the remaining cream (1½ cups) until it forms stiff peaks.
7. Fold the chocolate mixture (which should be chilled but not too cold at this point) into the cream slowly so it doesn’t deflate.
8. Serve as is, or with whipped cream, berries, or mint to garnish, as above.

Makes 8 servings.

Lemon Curd

Tart and brightly colored, Lemon Curd isn’t hard to make once you get the hang of it, and it’s very versatile. You can serve it as is, with some fresh whipped cream and sweet berries to cut the tanginess, or spoon it into mini pre-baked pastry or pie shells for lemon tart. Try it with breakfast items like pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, and scones. Or use as a filling for donuts, eclairs, cakes, or macaroons.

½ cup lemon juice from 3-4 large lemons
½ cup sugar
6 tbsp. butter, cut in small squares
3 egg yolks from large eggs
Pinch of salt

1. Whisk lemon juice, sugar, and eggs together.
2. Heat over medium-low heat and stir in the eggs.
3. Stir continuously until the lemon curd thickens, 5-7 minutes.
4. When lemon curd is thick enough – it should coat the back of a wooden spoon and when you run your finger through it, the lines stay – remove from the heat.
5. When cool enough, serve, or chill in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1¼ cups of curd.

Close up of stewing fruit compote in a saucepan

Fruit Compote

This is rarely a dessert on its own, but compote deserves a place on this list because, like lemon curd, it’s so versatile and easy to make. And like lemon curd, you can eat it with everything from ice cream to pancakes. Try it with oatmeal or pavlova. Make a dessert parfait with it using whipped cream or a breakfast parfait by layering yogurt and granola.

Use Fruit you have on hand – fresh or frozen – or buy whatever looks good and make a compote with that. Good fruits to try are strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and peaches.


2 cups fruit (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp. water or any kind of fruit juice
Optional: 1-2 tsp. of sugar if your fruit is very tart
Optional: spices like cinnamon, ground star anise, and ginger, depending on the fruits you’re using and the flavor you want


1. Heat fruit and water or juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling.
2. Reduce heat and cook the fruit, mixing regularly, for about 10 minutes. If adding sugar and/or spices, add them now.
3. Remove from heat when cooked. It should still be thick and chunky. Add sugar and more spices (optional) to taste.
4. Serve warm or cool in refrigerator.

Makes approx. 4-6 servings.

Rice Pudding

This dish is as easy as it is comforting. Using leftover rice (adjusting quantities to match the amount of rice you have) makes this recipe extra easy. All types of rice work for rice pudding, so use the kind you have on hand or like most.

3 cups cooked white rice
3 cups milk (whole or 2%)
2/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. cinnamon
Optional: raisins

1. Mix rice, milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium saucepan (and if you’re adding raisins, add them now) and cook on medium-medium low for about 20-25 minutes until the mixture is thick and mushy but not liquidy.
2. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon.
3. Serve warm or cold. Sprinkle more cinnamon on top if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Homemade chocolate fudge with walnuts on plate over wooden table.

Walnut Fudge

This “quick fudge” doesn’t require cooking sugar to a certain temperature or risk having it “seize.” Instead of sugar, it uses sweetened condensed milk. It’s fast to make and delicious!

If you’re not a fan of walnuts, substitute a different kind of nut, or get creative and use orange or mint extract instead or vanilla, or add M&Ms, candy bar bits, butterscotch or peanut butter morsels, red chile or cayenne pepper for a kick, mint candies, chunks of white chocolate, graham cracker bits, chunks of brownie, chopped caramel candies, mini marshmallows… pretty much anything you can think of!


14 oz. (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips or pistoles)
¼ cup (half a stick) of unsalted butter
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Grease a 8” square baking pan well or line with foil.
2. Warm butter and condensed milk on stove until hot but not boiling, and stir in chocolate until it becomes smooth.
3. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts and vanilla.
4. Pour mixture into pan; when cool enough, stick in refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours until set.
5. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 12-24 pieces, depending on how big you cut the squares

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5 Quick and Easy Stovetop Desserts


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