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3 fruit-filled desserts perfect for summer entertaining

Maura Friedman

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3 fruit-filled desserts perfect for summer entertaining

One of the best parts about summer cooking is the abundance of fruit that can be baked, macerated, crumbled and simmered into any type of dessert. Beautiful — and flavorful — berries and stone fruits make for a great showcase for the end of any meal, especially dinner parties and cookouts.

The secret to a great party dessert? Making the dish ahead of time. These three fruit-filled dessert recipes can all be prepared before guests arrive, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy their company.

Macerated Stone Fruit with Bourbon Sabayon
Many stone fruits are still in season, and this recipe offers the opportunity to mix-and-match your favorites. We like head to a local farmers market to pick up as many different shapes and colors of stone fruit as we can — peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and cherries all play well together. On top, drizzle bourbon-laced sabayon. The name sounds fancy, but sabayon is little more than a stirred, sweetened custard, fortified with alcohol. To match the Southern-themed sauce, we sprinkle toasted pecans over the dish to give it a complementary nuttiness.

The best part about this dish? The sabayon can be made far in advance and the fruit can be mixed an hour ahead, making it an excellent and easy dessert for your next dinner party.
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Key Lime Mousse with Blackberry Compote
Tangy and refreshing key limes are an excellent match to jammy and sweet blackberries. But instead of taking the trouble to make a pie, we like to a build colorful and elegant layered dessert complete with key lime mousse and blackberry compote. The mousse itself has a luxurious texture from gently cooked egg yolks and softly whipped cream, but the tart key lime flavor still shines through. The blackberry compote gets an extra jolt of complexity from a tipple of crème de cassis, a sweet, red liqueur made from blackcurrants. Together, they make for an undeniably delicious dessert, which (bonus!) can be made entirely ahead of time.
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Summer Berry Crisp
Looking for a dessert that’s a little more rustic? This summer berry crisp brings together an easy-to-prep mix of summer’s best blackberries, blueberries and raspberries with a simple, oat-filled topping sweetened with brown sugar. Top the crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or, if you’re up for it, freshly hand-whipped cream. It’ll make an excellent dessert to a casual cookout, or can even be made at the spur of the moment on a weeknight.

Pro-tip: Assemble the filling and topping ahead of time, and then pop the crisp in the oven just as you’re sitting down to dinner. You won’t regret it.
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Photos Credit: Maura Friedman


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Kate Williams is the interim editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She is also an on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She has been working in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.

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