Spring is the season for light desserts. Fresh strawberry and lemon meringue pies, pound cake with fresh fruit, angel food cake and fruit tarts, to name a few.
As we look forward to Memorial Day picnics or other special summer events, we want to make something that will be pretty as well as tasty. That’s where all the fresh fruit comes in.
You can make a 9x13-inch sheet cake, frost it with vanilla or whipped cream icing and decorate it with strawberries or raspberries and blueberries to create an American flag effect. You can make cupcakes and top them with the same fruits and tiny paper American flags for a holiday effect.
The patriotic theme can be carried over in a layered trifle, on shortcakes, pound cakes or pavlovas (meringue shells), in cookie bars, cheesecakes, and cobblers.
Key lime pie is another popular light dessert, as are fruit salad and puddings.
Fruit tarts are a light dessert that lets you show your artistic talents. The crust can be traditional pastry, shortbread, graham cracker or a special pastry like the one in the recipe below. When the crust is baked and cooled, a cream cheese filling is added.
On top of that goes the decorative fresh fruit, finished by a glaze. It can be as simple as apricot jam that is briefly melted in the microwave, or the glaze shown below.
When finished you have dessert that was amazingly easy, colorful and appropriate to complete a meal of burgers, hot dogs and other traditional picnic fare.
6 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups assorted fresh berries or assorted fresh fruit
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup apricot nectar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour, cornmeal and lemon juice to form a dough. Press onto bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake at 425° for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack.
2. For filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar and milk until smooth. Spread over cooled crust. Arrange berries or fruit over filling. Refrigerate while preparing glaze.
3. For fruit glaze, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, apricot nectar and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
Cool; brush over fruit. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Refrigerate leftovers.