In addition to the immediate joys of eating freshly harvested fruit, there is the added pleasure of baking them into desserts and making them into jam.
Pie is the obvious dessert choice, whether it’s plain blueberry or peach, or a combination of fruits. But not everyone wants to learn how to make a pie crust, which is why generations of American home cooks have crafted recipes for easy fruit desserts with a variety of colorful names including buckles, slumps, grunts, crisps, cobblers, crumbles, bettys, clafoutis and pandowdys.
Some have crunchy streusel toppings, while others are covered in dumplings or batter, but all are fairly simple and have as their base some kind of fruit that has been sugared and maybe lightly spiced.
Warm from the oven with a scoop of ice cream or a swirl of whipped cream, they are the perfect summertime dessert. Leftovers make a delightful breakfast.
When choosing which one to make, it comes down to what you like. If you enjoy a soft dumpling or biscuit-type topping, reach for a cobbler recipe. If you like a crunchy topping, look for a crumble or crisp recipe. For a more cakelike dessert, try a buckle, pandowdy or clafouti. Grunts and slumps are similar to cobblers, except they are cooked on top of the stove, which steams the dumplings instead of baking them.
This recipe from tasteofhome.com
lets you use any combination of soft fruits you have available. Strawberries are no longer in season locally, but you can find them at the supermarket. Or they could be replaced with peaches or more blueberries or raspberries.
3 cups halved fresh strawberries
1½ cups fresh raspberries
1½ cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quick-cooking oats
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Combine sugar and tapioca; sprinkle over berries and toss gently. Pour into a greased 11x7-inch baking dish; let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in butter; sprinkle over berry mixture.
3. Bake at 350°F until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm and, if desired, with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
Head for your favorite farm or farmers market and you will find blueberries, peaches and raspberries along with the first melons of the season. Blackberries and nectarines are up next. There might even be some apricots; later will come plums, pears and apples.