As summer quickly approaches and backyard barbeques are in full swing, it’s time to think beyond hot apple pies and find more suitable “cooling” desserts to satisfy your palette.
There are a lot of easy summer desserts that you can incorporate into a hot weather menu that won’t cause you to break a sweat. Here are a few ideas to help you get started in creating flavorful summer desserts for your friends and family.
Fruit kababs make for a super easy summer dessert. One of the best ways to ensure the peak of freshness is to stop by a Farmers Market and base the kabob around what is fresh, local, and organic that particular week. For an extra treat, you can add cake cubes or drizzle the fruit with chocolate sauce. This dessert is the pinnacle of simple but amazing.
You can cook so many meals on the grill, from appetizer to entrée, and there’s no reason to leave out dessert! For starters try grilling fresh pineapple, which tastes divine – even your meat loving friends will be happy to try it. Grilling will caramelize the natural sugars, adding more depth and character to the flavor of the fruit.
If you have a gelato maker handy, try making some fresh gelato for your next get together. Simply mix the ingredients in the machine and set it to run. If it has a self-refrigerant, then there is no need to pre-freeze any bowls. Simply scoop out the ice cream when it’s done and serve.
Gelato, also known as Italian ice-cream, has a thicker and creamier texture than its American counterpart. This is because it uses significantly less air during the mixing process – giving it an extra smooth consistency. You can make gelato with any kind of milk: conventional milk, grass fed milk, goat milk and even vegan milk. Although you can make it with water, this is not advised as it will not create the texture associated with traditional Italian ice cream. Serve with fresh berries and other fruits, or drizzled with chocolate.
Berries are at their best in the summer months. If your berries begin to over-ripen, using them in a smoothie is the ideal choice. Take several handfuls of berries or other fruit which purees nicely, and put them in a food processor along with some gelato, yogurt, or vegan milk. You can also process the berries and freeze them in ice cube trays to use later on in a summer dessert. Serve the berry cubes in bowls or add to your fresh gelato.
Kids love to help with meal preparation. It’s almost always a given that when kids help prepare the food, they will be more likely to eat it. This is a summer dessert recipe that every kid will enjoy making – and eating! Simply take fruit juice or lemonade, pour into molds, insert the popsicle stick and place in your freezer until frozen. Add in a few berries or other chopped fruit for a fun twist. This treat is perfect for hot summer days – prepare them in the cool evening or morning hours so they will be ready to enjoy during the high temperatures that are sure to quickly follow.
Enjoying flavorful summer desserts is only as good as the ingredients you use. If you’re not able to source produce from your own garden for some of these recipes, then a trip to the local farmers market is the prescription for your worries. You can meet your local farmers who offer fresh produce and understand the value of fresh ingredients. Not all farmers are certified organic, so make sure to ask if they are indeed organic or use organic growing methods.
Summer was always a fun time for Liz Krause, publisher of an Italian cooking website. She writes about Italian food and easy recipes often enjoyed by her readers. Liz also discusses various kitchen products which can be used in the kitchen – such as Italian gelato makers for homemade gelato desserts for those hot summer days, and Cuisinart food processors to help with day to day cooking and baking tasks.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by jayneandd