A cooked dessert is the proper way to finish off a special meal.
Fresh fruit is healthy, no doubt, however, there are celebrations and special occasions where munching a simple piece of fruit as dessert does not make justice to the event and the meal.
Preparing desserts and baking cakes, pastries or cookies are one of the most attractive areas in cooking. Home made desserts will not be cheaper than those from the shop, but you can be sure of the quality of the ingredients inside. Most of them will be prepared in the oven, so get familiar with the peculiarities of the one you are going to use.
Choose puddings and desserts to complement the main course. It is preferable to prepare them well in advance, but you can cook an egg custard or rice pudding on the bottom shelf of the oven while you are cooking the main course on the middle or top shelves.
After the meal you can serve puddings, jellies, cream moulds, soufflés, mousses, syllabubs, egg custards, ice cream and sorbets, pies, tarts, and cakes.
Gourmets, in particular French gourmets, state any meal should finish with the cheese board, and ice creams, soufflés, mousses or gateaux should come afterwards.