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fruit desserts

Fruit Desserts

Summer’s bounty offers cooks endless ways to prepare refreshing, elegant and, most importantly, simple fruit desserts. Each month brings with it another fruit at its peak seasonally, and a chance for you to create new summer time treats.

Hot summer temperatures invite outdoor dining and pool parties, barbecues, block parties and showers — and these are the perfect occasions for easy fruit desserts.  Not only are these dishes tasty, using fresh fruit can cut down drastically on the fat and calorie count in your dessert offering.

Here are some ideas for enjoying the riches of the garden as they come into season.

Strawberries and Rhubarb

poached pearsLate spring and early summer herald the onset of strawberry time. Strawberry celebrations are in abundance as local growers pick them, or let you do it yourself. The bright red aromatic berry is a classic ingredient in any dessert to top off a casual summer meal. Strawberry shortcake is an old favorite, as are strawberries topped with only fresh cream. Fans of balsamic vinegar marinate strawberries in it for a simple yet elegant dessert.

Here’s a way to combine rhubarb, another early summer favorite with strawberries for a sweet ensemble.

Tapioca Pudding with Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
Strawberries and rhubarb have a natural affinity that cooks have long exploited in pies and crisps. This homespun dessert is another possibility for those times when you find the two crops at the farmers' market together. Janet Fletcher, who created this dessert, says to serve it in a balloon wineglass so you can see the garnet red sauce underneath the pudding. Leftover sauce will keep, refrigerated, for at least a week. You can also halve the sauce recipe successfully.

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Cherries and Berries

Strawberries are just the beginning of the summer berry parade. By July, cherries and blueberries are ready to be picked. Fresh blueberry pie is a simple pleasure to close a summer meal. Blueberries grown on local farms are plumper than the smaller but more flavorful wild ones.  Blackberries and raspberries follow in late summer. Any of these are perfectly elegant served atop ice cream or yogurt.

With just a few more ingredients, any of the desserts below will help you savor the cherries and berries that are in abundance as summer goes on.

Apricot-Cherry Upside-Down Cake
In traditional upside-down cake recipes, the fruit is first caramelized in a skillet. In our simplified version, the butter and sugar are creamed and spread into the cake pan; then the fruit is layered over the mixture and topped with cake batter.

MORE BERRY RECIPES:

Raspberry Truffle Cake
Double Raspberry Bars
Blackberry Spice Cake

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Pears and Apples

poached pearsAlthough pears are available at the supermarket year-round, summer pears are at their best when in season after harvest in July and August.  The season is short, so don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy the unique juicy flavor of pears. Slice them on salads for a sweet addition to a dish other than dessert.

Apples share the same savory crunchiness as pears, and can take you through late summer into fall.  Most of us are familiar with the scent of apples and cinnamon warming a crisp fall day, but apples are also a refreshing time-tested treat on a summer day.

Try one of these desserts as a delightful end to a summer meal.

Frangipani Yogurt Pear Cake
Apple-Almond Amaretto Tart
Poached Pears
Tutti Frutti Roll-Ups

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