Cakes, cookies, cobblers, crumbles, custards, ice cream, pies and pastries! Did you know there’s a National Eat Dessert First Month and we’re in it right now? We came up with five spectacular summer desserts for all skill levels, so you can not only indulge in but create yummy treats.
Creamy Mango Ice Pops
The following recipe comes from Megan Byrd, a dietitian, food blogger and recipe developer at the Oregon Dietitian, a website for healthy recipes for the family with a budget in mind.
2½ cups mangoes (about 3 fresh)
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peel and slice the fresh mangoes (you may also use frozen ones). Add the mango flesh, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla to a food processor or blender and mix until smooth, with no mango chunks.
Pour evenly into 6 ice-pop molds. Insert an ice-pop stick into the center of each mold, leaving 2 inches of stick poking out. Freeze for at least 4 hours for metal molds, 6 to 8 hours for plastic ones.
Once the ice pops are frozen, run them under warm water for a few seconds, then gently pull them out of the molds. Store them in freezer-safe containers or plastic resealable bags.
Blueberry Eton Mess
This seemingly complicated dessert — an assemblage of three easy-to-prepare components — is from Lisa Steele, founder of the popular backyard chicken-keeping brand Fresh Eggs Daily and author of The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook. The sweet can be made ahead, and you can serve it in elegant goblets.
3 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup superfine sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Heat the oven to 200°F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium speed for 30 to 45 seconds, until frothy; then increase the mixer speed to medium high and beat for 2 to 3 additional minutes, until soft peaks form. With the motor still running, slowly add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then increase the mixer speed to high and beat for 5 to 6 minutes, until very stiff peaks form and the meringue has more than quadrupled in volume.
Scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round or star tip. Pipe the meringue into about 48 small nickel-size mounds, about ½-inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the meringues for about 90 minutes, until they look dry but aren’t browned. When the meringues are done, turn off the oven, prop the door open and leave the meringues in the oven for at least 3 hours or overnight. Store the meringues in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest from 1 lemon, about 1 tablespoon
In a medium saucepan, cook the berries, sugar and lemon zest over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, the berries have started to burst and the liquid has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat; set aside to cool. Cover and chill until ready to use.
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla on medium high for about 3 minutes, until soft peaks form. Cover and chill until ready to use.
To assemble the dessert
In glass goblets or drinking glasses, layer the meringues, blueberry sauce and whipped cream, repeating the layers 2 or 3 times. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with reserved blueberries.
Peach Crumble Pie
This recipe was developed by Cheryl Norris, who blogs at Bakes by Brown Sugar.
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
¼ cup ice-cold water
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Put the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Use fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter until it resembles small peas.
Combine the ice-cold water and lemon juice; add this to the crumbly dough. It will still be shaggy but should hold together when squeezed into a ball. Add more water, by the tablespoon, if needed.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured board and press it together, folding it over on itself until it begins to hold shape. Do this a few times, but don’t work the dough too much or it can get tough. Shape the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap; chill it for 45 minutes.
For a 9-inch pie plate, roll the dough 1/8-inch thick and 12 inches round. Fold the dough over itself twice, so you have a quarter. Place the dough in the pie plate so the corner is centered; gently unfold the dough to cover the pie plate. Trim any overhang to 1 inch all around, and fold on the edge of the pie plate. Crimp with fingers or a fork, if desired. Refrigerate the prepared dough in the pie plate for at least 30 minutes.
Brown Sugar–Crumble Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Place the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-size bowl; whisk the ingredients thoroughly, scraping the bottom.
Place the butter in a saucepan and melt, on medium-low heat, until it pops and the milk solids (the foam floating on top) mostly disappear and you see brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat; pour the butter into the dry-ingredients mixture. Scrape the browned bits into the mixture.
Use a spatula to stir the butter into the dry ingredients. Once the crumble is mixed, use fingers or a fork to break it into small and large pieces.
Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the crumble from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. The crumble will dry out and harden as it cools.
5 cups peaches
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 400°F. Place a half-size baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. The baking sheet is used to catch any of the peach drippings that bubble over, but it also helps ensure that the bottom of the pie browns.
Peel 2 or 3 of the peaches, but leave the rest unpeeled. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Place the peaches in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice, and gently toss with a large spoon, to coat. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ¾ cup of the sugar. Pour the dry-ingredients mixture over the peaches; gently fold in. Taste the peaches and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar if you want it sweeter.
To assemble and bake the pie
Spoon the peach filling into the prepared pie dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar crumble over the top. Place the pie on the hot half baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the peach juices start to bubble. Small bubbles will break through the brown sugar crumble.
Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a cooling rack until it is room temperature.
You can store the pie either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Lemon Blueberry Cookies
Farwin Simaak, founder of the online recipe site Love and Other Spices, provides this cookie recipe.
Makes 8 to 10 cookies
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup blueberries
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a mixing bowl, add the softened butter and white and brown sugars; beat until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg and beat until mixed well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry-ingredients mixture to the wet-ingredients mixture. Add the zest and lemon juice to the dough, and mix until a dough consistency forms. Fold in the blueberries.
Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and milk to a bowl, and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thick but able to be drizzled or poured on cookies. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and enjoy.
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle
This dessert comes from Karen Nochimowski, the author of 6-Minute Dinners (and More!), a cookbook with over100 simple, delicious recipes with six or fewer ingredients. She also runs Momma Chef's Soup Kitchen and Momma Chef's Little Free Pantries in Chicago, which provide food at no cost to those in need.
Note: If you don’t have a trifle dish, look for one at a thrift store or ask an older relative if they have one. In a pinch, a deep glass bowl will work. When dishing out your trifle, use a large serving spoon, so you can vertically pull out every delicious layer.
1 (16-ounce) container heavy cream, cold
¼ cup granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar
1 (16-ounce) pound cake, sliced into 1-inch squares
1 cup premade vanilla pudding
2 bananas, peeled and sliced, optional
2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and berries cut in half
Make the whipped cream. In a large mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and sugar. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, whip the cream and sugar until medium peaks form, about 4 minutes.
Layer the trifle. Start with a third of the pound cake squares on the bottom of the dish, then spread a third of the pudding on the cake. Place a third of the bananas on the pudding. Next, spread a third of the whipped cream over the bananas. Put a third of the sliced strawberries on the whipped cream. Repeat these steps until you have 3 layers, with the strawberries finishing off the trifle.
Tip: This recipe can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free pound or sponge cake.
What's YOUR favorite dessert to make? Let us know in the comments below.