Summertime Desserts

by Laura on July 3, 2010

in Traditions

When temperatures begin to heat up, it is time to whip up some refreshing desserts. With so many fruits coming into season – peaches, berries, pears, plums, and watermelon – how could you resist savoring these decidedly summertime flavors? Old-fashioned fruit-based desserts are truly a part of our American heritage. Grabs some peaches, cherries, apples, or whatever summertime fruit you desire and whip up some of these easy-to-make American classics.

Cobbler: This deep-dish dessert is an American favorite. It is topped with a thick biscuit crust. It can be made with just about any type of fruit including peaches, plums, nectarines or blackberries. Depending on the region, this dessert can be called a bramble, grunt or slump.

Crisp and Crumbles: These are often made with a shortbread crust rather than a biscuit crust that is the base for the cobbler. With the Crisp, the fruit is cooked on the bottom of the pan, then topped with a crust which becomes crisp and crumbly when it bakes. My favorite crisp is the Parisian Apple Crisp, which has a lighter crust than the shortbread, and when topped with whipped cream or ice cream, is a simple but dreamy dessert. The Crumble is simply the British version of the American Crisp.

Brown Betty: A popular baked pudding that was made during Colonial times, the Brown Betty consists of fruit (most commonly apples) baked between layers of buttered crumbs.

Fool: For a refreshing summer dessert that highlights summertime fruits, the Fool is the choice. It is a simple combination of fruit and cream, or whipped cream. Sometimes the fruit is stewed, and then folded into the whipped cream.

Buckle or Crumple: A type of cake that is made in a single layer, with berries added to the batter–usually blueberries. The batter is quite thick, and as it bakes, it forms a thin bottom layer. The topping is similar to a streusel, which gives it a buckled or crumpled appearance.

I like to enjoy my berries with cake – but not cooked into the batter. That’s why I opt for the cake roll. The Red, White and Blue Cream Cake is a refreshing combination of fresh fruit (I use strawberries and blueberries) with whipped cream and cake.

Shortcake: This classic American dessert is made with a rich biscuit that is split in two and topped with fruit and whipped cream. Traditionally made using strawberries, the shortcake can be enjoyed when made with fresh blueberries, blackberries, peaches and apricots as well.

Finally, what would a discussion of American summer pastries be without a mention of the Pie. Early American pies may have been filled with meat and vegetables, but I’m talking about the fruit-filled versions. The key to a great pie is theflaky crust, and the secret to making a great crust is to take it easy and keep it cool. There are only three basic ingredients: flour, butter (or shortening or lard), and water.

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