It is the heart of summer when farm fresh everything pops up at markets and farm stands, usually at such excellent prices you feel cheated if you DON’T double your purchase. Happily, taking advantage of the healthy, low-cost, freshest of the fresh fruit available in a South Jersey summer, is also a good way to beat the South Jersey summer heat.
The trick is to use the fruity harvests for fast and easy cool-your-inside desserts. Here are two summer dishes, inspired by the bonanza of Jersey fruits, that qualify. A second trick is to set the ingredients to cool in the fridge before preparing the desserts. They are so quick to make, the food will still be cold when you eat it. Frosty and yummy.
FRESH, FRUITY, NUTTY SUNDAE
A 10-minute dessert or snack that kids will love to help make.
2 or more servings of fruit PER DESSERT.
1 small peach, or pear, or slice of melon;
¼ C of berries – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or cherries
¼ C of glazed walnuts or honey-roasted nuts or flavored almonds
Whipped cream, from supermarket or homemade.
Wash and cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces, removing stems and/or pits, as required. You may need to chop the walnuts if the pieces are too large.
Layer one kind of fruit, some nuts, and a bit of whipped cream, then the second kind of fruit, nuts, cream, etc. in a sundae dessert dish. Or mix all the cut fruit gently in individual bowls and top with the nuts and whipped cream.
The first presentation is great for company. The second is faster. If you like, garnish the sundae or fruit bowls with chocolate, butterscotch, strawberry or even maple syrup. Fruit is easy to customize.
Note: You can use fruit from the supermarket, like bananas, kiwi or oranges, and you can mix and match all of the above with canned fruit (well-drained), if you like.
THE CONE CONUNDRUM
A kid-favorite puzzle: What’s in the cone with the fruit?
1 ice cream cone, sugar or waffle style, per dessert
A selection of fresh fruit, washed, about ½ C per dessert
Ice cream OR pre-made pudding cups (store bought or homemade) OR whipped cream (store bought or homemade)
Confetti sprinkles for garnish
This festive dessert, snack or reward treat is deceptively simple and quick to make. It can take less than two minutes per cone to concoct. Cut the fresh fruit into small chunks and place in a colander to drain. You can mix fruits or settle on one type. You can use canned fruit, just drain well.
If you are using ice cream, place layer of ice cream then layer of fruit inside cone. End with fruit on top. Garnish. The ice cream “surprise” shows up when the fruit layer is gone.
Alternatively, use a favorite pudding as the surprise in the layers.
Tip: Keep the family guessing at the surprise by using a different ice cream or pudding flavor each time.
SUMMER DRINK FRUIT HACK
Here’s a super-simple clever hack to flavor and refresh a cool drink.
Assorted fruit, cut into large chunks or kept whole
Your favorite cold beverage
Wash the fruit before cutting or using. Use a clean ice cube tray and place one fruit or chunk of fruit in each section. Freeze.
Alternatively, line a flat plate or small baking sheet with parchment paper and place fruit or chunks in a single layer on the tray. Freeze.
Now you can use the frozen fruit just like ice cubes to cool your drink. Try several frozen raspberries or a handful of blueberries in ice tea or ginger ale. Would frozen pineapple make your lemonade tastier? How about putting a couple of frozen strawberries in a flute of sparkling wine?
The fruit will cool and flavor your drink and when you’re finished sipping, you get to eat the now-softened fruit. It’s a two-fer and an update to the same-old, same-old
By Jean Redstone