Sweet Choices from Summer Fruits
There's so much to love about summer ingredients. For at least a few months, we can eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown a reasonable distance from NYC instead of a continent or an ocean away.
This makes summer desserts even more tempting. Local fruits and berries can be eaten raw or cooked, wrapped in buttery pastry or puréed and frozen, as a companion to a piece of cheese or baked with spices into a friendly tea cake.
As I watch local fruit arrive in our markets and Greenmarkets, dessert is on my mind. we've just added several new dessert recipes to The City Cook but in case you're short of ideas -- or completely overwhelmed with choices -- here are some suggestions for making sweets with the bounty of summer:
- A bowl of the best yellow peaches you can find, peeled with a small serrated or paring knife, then sliced and sprinkled with a spoonful of brown sugar. Add a drizzle of cream if you want to gild the lily but I love the simple combo of the musky sweet fruit and the slightly grainy sugar.
- Galettes -- a rustic pastry that's simply folded around pieces of fruit or a mound of berries that have been tossed with some sugar and a little lemon juice and baked until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbly. Perfect for blueberries, peaches, mixed berries, sliced plums, or a mix of whatever you love. We've added a link to a recipe for rhubarb galette in a cornmeal pastry by Martha Stewart so you can see the technique for making one.
- Buy meringue shells at a bakery -- or make your own -- then fill with whatever fruit is most sweet and ripe and add a spoonful of cream that's been sweetened and whipped until it's dense and heavy but not yet butter. This is like a pavlova without the structure.
- Slices of store or bakery bought angel food cake with spoonfuls of fresh berries (whatever looks best) that have been tossed with a little sugar and lemon juice and let to become juicy.
- Blueberry crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. See our recipe.
- Watermelon sorbet. It's easy to make your own. See our recipe.
- Zucchini bread. Okay, so zucchini isn't fruit but you can turn all that cheap, tender locally grown zucchini into something sweet and spicy.
- Berry cobbler. See our recipe that uses Bisquick mix to make a quick and tender biscuit topping to warm, soft and sweet berries.
- Old fashioned strawberry desserts that make the most of the sweetest local berries. Slice and make sundaes made with the best vanilla ice cream you can find (or make your own), and sweet whipped cream. Or even better, make strawberry shortcakes by laying sliced berries and whipped cream with easy to make baking powder biscuits that are golden and crispy on the outside and tender and soft inside. See our biscuit recipe.
- Cherry clafoutis made with the sweetest red cherries baked in an almond-tinged cake-like custard with a faint flavor of kirsch or brandy. Many French cookbooks offer different versions for this easy classic dessert.
- Fresh green figs served along side good quality goat cheese.
Remember that we're supposed to have numerous daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Summer flavors make it so easy and sweet to get our quota.