End any summertime meal on a delicious note with these healthy desserts. By: Text: Jason Horn and Cooking Light Editors
The layers of flavor in this dish add up to something incredible―with sweet-tart grapes, a tangy goat cheese mixture, earthy walnuts, and a honeyed port sauce all layered between airy and crisp phyllo, who could ask for anything more?
This ice cream is inspired by the Sichuan peanuts sold by Mama's Nuts at Logan Square Farmers Market in Chicago. Find Sichuan peppercorns at spice purveyors such as penzeys.com, or substitute fresh coarsely ground black pepper for a less tongue-tingling version.
Use a sweet fresh cherry such as Bing or Rainier for this hearty cake. You can substitute frozen cherries, thawed and drained, if fresh fruit is unavailable.
Blueberries signal the arrival of summer's sweetest days, and this dessert highlights them perfectly. Crumbly shortbread and homemade whipped cream elevate a simple berry to a memorably indulgent treat. The components of this dish can be made in advance, then assembled just before serving.
This restaurant-quality dessert will impress absolutely anyone, but it requires eight ingredients and less than 10 minutes to make. Caramelizing the natural sugars in the fruit gives them intense flavor, an intense balsamic vinegar pan sauce mixed with creamy and tangy crème fraîche sets off the sweetness, and an sprinkle of pepper adds an unexpected surprise.
Read More: Our Guide to Figs
The classic cocktail provides relief from the heat of a Southern summer, so why not freeze and serve it for dessert? Mint-infused simple syrup and smoky-sweet bourbon combine in a slushy delight that's definitely not for kids.
Three kinds of coconut products—coconut water and milk and cream of coconut—offer the best flavor and texture. Look for coconut water by the fruit juices. For an adult treat, drizzle rum over your serving.
The ice pop gets a decidedly grown-up spin: It’s made from fresh melon, chile, and lime—both juice and rind. A bit of pectin helps keep all the ingredients incorporated evenly; without it, they tend to separate.
Fresh tart cherries can be hard to find, which is why we add some dried ones to boost the flavor of this crisp. If you have access to fresh tart cherries, use 3 pounds and omit the dried fruit. Serve with vanilla low-fat ice cream, if desired; a small (1/4-cup) scoop will add 55 calories and 0.5 grams of saturated fat to each serving.
Though it commonly adds zing to biscuits, pancakes, and waffles, buttermilk rarely gets to express its natural tanginess by itself. However, this frozen treat lets it play center stage, adding slightly sweetened strawberries for color and variety.
A whole bottle of sparkling wine cooks down to a syrup, which then softens and flavors fresh ripe peaches in this recipe. The citrusy, herbal essence of lemon verbena suffuses the other ingredients, adding a subtle layer of interest to an otherwise simple dish.
Though a beloved pie classic, rhubarb has a strong tartness that sometimes needs moderating. Sweet raspberries do that job perfectly here, while a splash of crème de cassis adds even deeper berry flavor. A slice of this pie absolutely screams for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
A very simple preparation belies the sophistication of this recipe. Nectarines are softened and sweetened by cooking in syrup, while the floral and herbal notes of lavender elevate them to something elegant. Serve warm or chilled, with or without frozen yogurt on top, to really wow your guests.
With its crumbly topping and spongy texture, this is a traditional coffee cake in structure, but its fillings make it different. Tart lemon balances the pure sweetness of blueberries, while almond paste adds an intangible depth. Try a piece for breakfast, dessert, or an afternoon snack.
Our Test Kitchens awarded this recipe a rare perfect score. The light and fluffy cake incorporates the tang of buttermilk and lemon, plus a hint of mint, topped off with a sticky and sweet sauce featuring big chunks of fresh summer cherries. The compote is good on any other kind of dessert as well, especially ice cream.
Tart-sweet cherry and strong dark chocolate flavors meld beautifully in this surprisingly rich sorbet crowned with juicy fresh cherries. Use a high-quality jam for the sorbet, and be sure to start the process a day ahead for the best flavor and texture.
A sprinkling of fresh, fragrant thyme leaves over ripe apricots helps bring this flat cake to staff favorite status. Food Editor Ann Taylor Pittman agrees: "The addition of thyme is an absolutely ingenious, delicious touch."
In this custard, citrus juice stands in for milk as the base liquid, thickened by egg yolks. Butter gives the curd a glorious sheen. Garnish with mint leaves for a spot of green color.
"This reminds me of summer after catching lightning bugs," says Chef Myers (Comme Ça, Los Angeles). "My family would eat fresh-picked blackberries like candy after dinner as the sun was going down."
"I remember discovering lemon verbena one summer at the greenmarket in New York," says Chef Hatfield (Hatfield's, Los Angeles). "The smell is intoxicating, and it stays with you forever."
Here's a twist on peach Melba, the classic dessert of poached peaches with raspberry sauce. We turn juicy summer peaches instead into a velvety sorbet spiked with basil and serve it with fresh raspberries for the perfect ending to a summer meal.
One bite and you will add this moist cake to your favorites list—it shows off the fruit to perfection. If you go blueberry picking this summer, freeze some for the winter; you can prepare this cake with frozen (unthawed) berries—bake a few minutes longer as needed.