What makes it a “summer” dessert?

We think the idea of “summer” desserts is a bit narrow. After all, would you turn down a rich piece of chocolate cake just because the thermometer is pushing 90 degrees or higher?Would you turn away a lovely berry shortcake because it’s too cold outside? Of course not.

Wildberry Crisps
Wildberry Crisps

But there is something different about desserts in the summer. It’s not just that they’re lighter overall, but something less tangible. Maybe it’s the ripe fruits that are available in summertime, many of which are fresh-picked from our own garden. Maybe it’s their simplicity—who wants to spend all day in the kitchen cooking on a beautiful summer day?

Whatever the reason, we know a good summer dessert when we see it.

Wherefore art thou Summer?

When thinking of summer desserts, berries jump to the fore. And really any kind of berry will do, as long as it’s ripe, juicy, and sweet. There’s really nothing simpler than a bowl full of ripe berries with just a bit of cream (whipped or not), with the luscious fruit flavors made ever so slightly richer by the rich cream.

Berry Tiramisu
Berry Tiramisu

The form almost doesn’t matter. Take this wildberry crisp, for example. Would it be any less delicious as a cobbler? Or with shortcakes?

You can also use berries to lighten up a classic dish, as in this berry tiramisu. The ripeness of the berries really brightens up a dish like this. Sure, there’s a reason it’s a classic (when done properly), but the addition of the berries really takes this to a different, more sunny place.

Make your own

Of course, making your own desserts is happiness on several levels. Here’s a simple, refreshing recipe that is a snap to make:

Watermelon Granita

  • 8 cups watermelon chunks (about ½ large melon)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar (we tend towards less)

Put everything in a blender. Blend until smooth (do two batches if needed). Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and freeze for 6-8 hours, scraping down the icy parts with a fork every couple of hours.

You can also add a few sprig of mint if you like that sort of thing.

Easy, isn’t it? And we promise, if you use a nice, ripe melon, it will be absolutely delicious.

Here are a few more of our favorites:

Berry Shortcakes, From Real Simple

Grilled Bananas, From Food Network

Crème Brûlée a l’Orange, From Epicurious

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