20 Desserts That Make the Most of Fresh Fruit
Fruit out of a can should only be a last resort.
Photo by Heami Lee.
There is something quintessentially summery about eating just fruit for an entire meal when the mood strikes. Perhaps it’s because we’re most likely dehydrated from sweating our asses off on the commute home from work and our bodies are telling us to get water any way we can. Now that warmer weather is upon us, an abundance of sweet, sweet fruits are coming into peak season, and you don’t have to rely on mealy supermarket blueberries. Now’s the time to get your farmer’s market strategy in place, because those blackberries and raspberries are going to be snatched up quick if you don’t get there bright and early. Become friends with that one neighbor who happens to have a backyard plum tree and offer to take some of their excess fruit off their hands. Here are some of our favorite recipes for taking the best fruit the season has to offer and turning it into something even better.
Why bury perfect strawberries in pounds of sugar and other unnecessary distractions? Freshly whipped cream and some toasted macadamia nuts makes this the best way to showcase just how good a strawberry can taste all on its own.
Berries and cream too simple? Take it one step further, with a vanilla-hyssop-lemongrass simple syrup and some tart crème fraîche rather than sweet cream.
These chocolate buckwheat pancakes are the epitome of breakfast-for-dessert and/or dessert-for-breakfast.
If you can perfect your crepe-flipping technique, this becomes a dessert you can whip out at a moment’s notice, with whatever fruit you can get your hands on.
If you’re using fresh peaches instead of canned, you’ll want to macerate your fruit with a bit of sugar and lemon juice before you start baking.
As apple historian (yes, that’s a thing) Tom Burford explains, “A good crust can forgive less-than-perfect apples, but a bad crust ruins the pie, apples and all."
Yes, apples and pears are important to this dessert, but we tend to eat the streusel topping off of this the way little kids lick the icing off a cupcake and leave the bottom behind.
The cream cheese in this crust perfectly complements the tart berries and makes this galette impossible to stop eating.
Ground cherries, or husk cherries, look like little yellow tomatillos, but they’re actually more like berries. They make great pies and desserts for those who prefer tartness to sweetness at the end of a meal.
If you don’t plan to make this crumble campfire-style, we included some notes at the end of this recipe for how to do it in the oven or on your stovetop. It’s all up to you!
If you like the custardy base of this chess pie, you can top it with any fruit you like.
This recipe comes from Oakland’s beloved Lois the Pie Queen, so you’re in royally good hands with this one.
Have you noticed a trend here? Almost all of these desserts are incomplete without a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. We couldn’t leave you hanging with the storebought stuff.
You can use pre-made applesauce for these Russian doughnuts from Portland’s Kachka, but don’t skimp on the fresh raspberry or lingonberry jam for dipping.
This dessert has to be served right away, so your guests have the fun of plucking pieces of the caramel-coated apples and dunking them in ice water to cool the sugar into thin, sticky threads. (The Chinese name for these translates to “pulled thread apples.”)
Bananas foster is the dessert that will never let you down. If you can keep one dessert in your repertoire, make it this one.
Sorbet is simply fruit juice or puree, mixed with water and sugar, then churned while it freezes. In this case, we’re assuming you don’t have an ice cream churner, so you’ll have to do the shaking yourself.
Even if you can’t get your hands on edible flowers for garnishing this dessert, it still makes for a stunning presentation if you layer it up carefully in a glass trifle dish.
You can consider these more of an after-school-snack-for-grownups rather than dessert, if you want to justify eating them all the time, regardless of meals. Just a tip.
Macerating these berries in a little bit of rosé pulls together all of the flavor notes from the herbs, semifreddo and praline. And, of course, since the bottle’s already open, go ahead and pour yourself a glass.
This trifle gets a boozy hit from a drizzle of sweet sherry or dessert wine between the layers of vanilla sponge cake and fresh custard.