You’ve been there, I know you have. People are coming for dinner, dinner is ready, the table is set, and, suddenly, you realize that you have no dessert. Alternatively, you’ve been invited out to a meal – Easter, in my case—with one caveat: Please bring a dessert.


Of course, you can buy a dessert, but if you’re like me, you’re too late and the pickings at the bakery are, well, pickings. Ice cream? Sure, but this is supposed to be special. Have you ever taken ice cream to a dinner party?

So what can you create in a hurry?

Quite a lot, though it does require you to keep a well-stocked pantry. As a child of children of the Depression, I do. I may be late, but my larder is larded up.

I recommend it.

Along with the basics of sugar and spice, herbs, salt, cocoa, baking power/soda, powered milk, coffee, tea, mustard, catsup, mayonnaise, jam and jellies, bouillon cubes, canned soup, canned fruit, dried beans, and Bisquick, I have, just to mention a few extras, candy bars, chocolate and butterscotch chips, canned cheese, nuts of all kinds, dried fruit, and in the freezer frozen filo and pie dough.

That said, you’re in a hurry, so here’s one of my favorite quickies– Denver Chocolate Pudding, first made in Ethiopia many years ago from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook that came in the old Peace Corps book locker. So heat up the oven to 350 and let’s get cooking. All you need is flour, sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, cocoa, milk and coffee.

It’s easy to make, impressive to taste and can be guzzied up with ice cream if you insist.

In a baking pan that allows the ingredients to sit about an inch below the surface, sift or stir together these dry ingredients: ¾ cup white sugar, 1 cup of flour, 3 Tablespoons of cocoa, 2 teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Make sure it’s mixed thoroughly.

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a half cup of milk and add teaspoon of vanilla when the butter has melted. Add to the dry ingredients above and mix thoroughly.

Sprinkle a ½ cup of brown sugar on top of this batter.

Pour 1 ½ cups of leftover cold coffee over this—do not stir– and bake for 40 minutes.

You will end up with a moist cake on top with a chocolate sauce on the bottom. Sprinkle with powered sugar and, if you wish, take some vanilla ice cream to put on top.

Till next time.

Melkam Megeb. Bon appetit. Buen provecho. Mànmàn chī! Guten Appetit! Dober tek! Selamat makan! Nush olsun! Svādiṣṭ khānā!