Elegant and Easy Summer Desserts
“Summertime …and the livin’ is easy.” Let’s keep it that way, even when entertaining at dinner. It doesn’t matter whether it is meant to be polished and stylish or a casual get-together. A spectacular, luscious dessert will end the evening with dazzle! That’s easy to do in summer. Take advantage of summer fruits at their heavenly best. Just combine them with ice cream, cake and/or a compatible liqueur. No cooking allowed.
Sambuca-Soaked Pound Cake with Cherry Pie Filling
Did (do) you love cherry swizzlers - that charming combination of cherry and licorice? That was the inspiration for this recipe. It is a winner - an unusual combo that is deliciously sweet and tart, has a melt-in-your-mouth consistency with punch and pizzazz from the liqueur.
1 pound cake, purchased
Sambuca Romano or other licorice-flavored liqueur
1 14-ounce can cherry pie filling, divided
Garnish: fresh cherries, optional
Cut pound cake into 1/2 inch thick slices, allowing 3 per person
Lightly brush the liqueur over the slices.
Lightly smash or process the pie filling to a very coarse texture, allowing about 1/3 cup per portion.
Place one slice cake on a plate and spread with the cherry mixture. Make three layers.
Berries with Berry Liqueur Over Vanilla Ice Cream
So simple, so scrumptious. Is there anyone who doesn’t love the combination of fruit and cream, especially ice cream? Why? It blends sweet, sour, and umami tastes with the bite of alcohol. The berries - sweet and sour; ice cream - sweet and umami; liqueur - the bite. Of course, each adds its own unique and complex elements to this delectable dessert.
Note: Let your individual taste dictate exact amounts. E.g., I like more berries, less ice cream and a moderate amount of Chambord.
Raspberries and blackberries, allowing about 1/3 cup of each per diner
Chambord, about 2 tablespoons for four servings
Ice cream - about 1/2 cup per diner
Macerate the berries in the liqueur for 1/2 - 2 hours. Spoon over ice cream.
Stone Fruit and Yogurt in Pastry Shells
Locally-grown peaches, plums, nectarines and their relatives, when ripe, burst with juice and flavor in mid-summer. Finger-lickin’ good, you might say. But only if picked when ripe. Stone fruits do not ripen more after picking and, if not fully ripe, will be hard, dry and not very flavorful, as is so typical of these fruits in winter when imported.
Each fruit has its own taste and color, but all are sweet and mildly, if at all, tart. Consequently, they take well to tart and zesty additions. Here, a mix of stone fruits with a few blueberries included for color is dressed with tangy yogurt, zesty lemon and spicy cinnamon.
Note: Makes four servings
2-3 tablespoons plain or vanilla, full-fat yogurt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup mixed stone fruits, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons blueberries
4 individual pastry or tart shells
Mix the yogurt, cinnamon and lemon zest. Combine with the fruit and put into individual shells.