Sautéed Grape Napoleons with Port Reduction
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?
Sheet Pan S'mores
This summertime treat is perfect for a potluck. They are great served at room temperature, but if you want, pop the pan into a warm (250°) oven for 2 minutes just until the chocolate softens for the full gooey experience. For a fruity twist, place thinly sliced bananas over the chocolate layer before adding the meringue.
In Bordeaux, where châteaus and vineyards abound, a typical dessert is fresh strawberries sliced into a red wine glass and then topped with a great Bordeaux. Here, that regional tradition is adapted to make it more dessert-like. If you're pressed for time, do as the Bordelais do—quick and easy.
Summer Melon with Lime and Rum
This is a lovely dessert, the rum adding a nice French touch (because the French were colonialists in sugar cane countries, they have a huge penchant for rum). Here, along with ginger, it adds rich depth. To ease prep, purchase precut melons in the produce section; some stores offer a mix of melons in a single pack.
Warmed Berries with Honey and Fresh Cheese
You may adapt this dessert to your taste by adjusting the blend of berries, the amount of honey, or even the amount of cheese. The idea is luxury in the amount of berries. Fromage blanc is wonderfully subtle; you can sub Greek yogurt, which is tangier.
Nectarine and Berry Crumble
We love the combo of nectarines and raspberries, but use the fruit you have on hand--just be sure it's ripe and flavorful. Toasting the topping in the oven while the fruit cooks on the stovetop ensures the dessert is done lightning-fast.
Chilled Peaches in Orange Flower Water
This dish is all about the fragrant orange flower water. Look for it in Mediterranean markets or speciality supermarkets. At farmers' markets, you can find peaches whose flesh is nearly red, their skin fragile and lightly furred, their flavor intensely perfumed and deep. This recipe, which couldn't be simpler, exemplifies the most important tenet of all French coking—when you have fabulous ingredients, get out of the way and let them speak for themselves. Chilling the peaches makes them easier to slice nicely and gives a refreshing edge to their flavor.
Fresh Blackberry Granita with Lemon Syrup
Make the lemon syrup while the granita freezes, and refrigerate; strain before serving. Top with extra berries, if desired.
Strawberry Cheesecake Pops
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Sichuan Peanut Brittle
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.
Cherry-Hazelnut Cake with Streusel Topping
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.
Gingered Blueberry Shortcake
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.
Seared Figs and White Peaches with Balsamic Reduction
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.
Mint Julep Granita
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.
Piña Colada Sorbet
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.
Watermelon-Jalapeño Ice Pops
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.
Rich Chocolate Pudding Pie
Melted chocolate binds cookie crumbs for the crust—and makes it extra delicious. Substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for the rum.
Margarita Ice-Cream Sandwiches
Fresh lime zest and coarse sea salt mimic the flavors of a margarita in this treat that kids and adults will love.
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.
Buttermilk Sorbet with Strawberries
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.
Peaches with Cava and Lemon Verbena
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.
Nectarines Poached in Lavender-Honey Syrup
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.
Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake
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.
Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Compote
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.
Peach, Plum, and Apricot Crisp
Stone fruits work their magic with this dessert. Serve warm with vanilla low-fat ice cream.
Minted Watermelon and Lemon Ice Pops
Juicy-tangy watermelon ice pops somehow taste more of melon than the fruit itself.
Bittersweet Chocolate-Cherry Sorbet
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.
Lemon-Cornmeal Pound Cake with Berries and Cream
An assortment of sweet berries and freshly whipped cream tops Lemon-Cornmeal Pound Cake for a simple summer treat.
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."
Lemon Curd with Berries
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.
Blackberry Merlot Granita
"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."
Lemon-Earl Grey Squares
Lemon squares are a tried and true summer classic, but you know we've got to mix it up. Try these decidedly different sweet treats and you won't look back.
Peach and Basil Shortcake
This company-worthy shortcake is both beautiful and delicious. We love the unexpected flavor that basil brings to the table.
Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
"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."
Green Tomato and Fig Cupcakes
Tomatoes and fig come together to create an unusual, yet oh-so-decadent dessert that everyone in the family will love.
Cool off with this adult sherbet, made with fresh cantaloupe, heavy cream, and vodka.
Lemon Verbena-Buttermilk Sherbet
OK, so lemon verbena isn't a fruit—but it does add fruity flavor to this lovely dessert. Its floral aroma and taste soften the tang of the buttermilk.
Raspberries with Peach-Basil Sorbet
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.
Apricots, brown sugar, cinnamon, and whipping cream—need we say more?
Blueberry Coffeecake with Almond Streusel
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.
Deep-Dish Strawberry Ice Dream Pie
The filling for our killer pie is somewhere between ice cream and mousse—a creamy concoction that's ridiculously easy to make.
Key Lime Panna Cotta
Go easy—too much Key Lime juice can curdle custards and cream. Luckily the tart, tangy juice is so bold that a little goes a long way.