Gourmet Desserts On A Budget

Even with a few simple and inexpensive ingredients you can make a great tasting gourmet dessert that will impress and delight your family and guests. Mexican cuisine, in particular, is known for its easy but delicious desserts many of which can be made ahead of time for easy meal planning.

Besides the popular flan, which is a rich tasting custard, empanadas are stuffed pastries that are easy to make and can be filled with tasty ingredients like fresh fruits.

Candies, cakes, cookies, and pies made with Mexican chocolate along with cool, refreshing treats such as homemade sorbets are also perfect choices when you are on a budget but still want a gourmet tasting dessert.

Prickly Pear Sorbet with Lime Tuiles Recipe

What You Need

For the sorbet:

  • 3 pounds ripe prickly pears
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup

For the lime tuiles:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • Grated zest from 1 lime
  • Parchment paper
  • 4 custard cups

How to Make It

To prepare the sorbet, remove the tops and bottoms from the prickly pears. Cut each pear lengthwise then peel off the skin and discard. Coarsely chop the flesh of the pears the puree in a blender or food processor.

Strain the pureed pears through a fine strainer or sieve in order to remove any remaining seeds. Add the sugar and corn syrup to the strained pears and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Transfer the chilled mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze for at least 2 more hours or until frozen.

After the sorbet is almost frozen, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prepare the lime tuiles, beat the egg white with an electric mixer on the highest speed until soft peaks start to form.

Beat in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the egg white becomes shiny and stiff.

Fold in the melted butter, flour, and lime zest and allow the mixture to stand for about 5 minutes or until it thickens just slightly.

Place the oven racks to the center and top third positions. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the 4 custard cups upside down on the counter or a flat surface near the stove.

Take 1 tablespoon of the thickened batter at a time and place onto the baking sheets. Use a metal spatula to spread the batter into a circle about 6 inches in diameter toward one end of the baking sheet. Repeat the process so there are 2 circles per baking sheet about 4 inches apart.

Bake the batter for about 7 minutes or until each are completely a golden brown color. Do not underbake the tuiles.

Remove the tuiles from the oven and allow them to cool for about 30 seconds or until they are just cool enough to remove from the baking sheets with the metal spatula.

To remove the tuiles, use the spatula to quickly lift off the baking sheet then drape each one over top of an inverted custard cup. Gently mold the tuiles down onto the cups so they will take the cup's form as they cool down.

If the tuiles are too hard to form down onto the custard cup, transfer them back to the baking sheet and warm in the oven until soft.

Allow the tuiles to stand until completely cooled and crisp so that you can carefully remove them from the custard cups.

Place each of the baked tuiles on a dessert plate then fill with a scoop of frozen sorbet and serve.

Serves 4.