Celebrate the fresh taste of spring with these seasonal fruit desserts
With the abundance of fresh, sweet produce now flooding the market, it can be hard to fathom making them taste even better—but these easy recipe ideas will help you elevate your favorite fruit to new levels.
Chocolate is delicious way to raise the bar on a bowl of plain fruit. To make your own chocolate-covered strawberries, use your microwave to melt semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Go slowly, using medium power in 30-second increments, pausing to stir with a silicone spatula until smooth. Hold the strawberry by the stem and dip into the warm chocolate, pausing for a moment and twisting a little as you lift the berry back up to let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Arrange on a parchment-lined plate, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt, and chill until firm. If blueberries are more your speed, add them straight into the bowl and mix gently until thoroughly coated. Use a spoon to scoop the berry mixture into bite-size portions and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then transfer to a resealable freezer bag for long-term storage. Try Mindful’s Chocolate Dipped Strawberry recipe.
Whipping up a batch of homemade sorbet is a great way to use fresh fruit on the verge of becoming overripe, but to really kick it up a notch think in terms of different flavor combinations. Some great pairings to try include Ginger-Blackberry, Lemon-Raspberry, or Coconut-Mango. For best results, peel and chop your ingredients (if necessary) into uniform pieces and freeze on a baking sheet until firm. Transfer to a food processor and whirl until smooth, adding a touch of honey or agave syrup to reach the level of sweetness you prefer. Serve immediately.
Ricotta Panna Cotta
If you’re looking for an alternative to cheesecake, consider panna cotta. This lightly sweetened custard-like dessert is perfect for fresh springtime fruits. It works best if you let it chill overnight before serving, but the actual cooking time requires only a few minutes.
To make the panna cotta, combine 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin and 1/4 cup of cold water in a small saucepan. When the gelatin begins to soften, stir in 1/2 cup of half-and-half over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine 2 cups ricotta, the gelatin mixture, an additional 1 cup of half-and-half, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Process about 30 seconds until smooth, then transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled 9” pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours until ready to serve.
Rhubarb can be quite tart, so avoid the temptation to reduce the sugar called for in any rhubarb recipe unless you truly love sour dishes. To make the rhubarb crumble, in a large bowl combine 4 cups of chopped rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch; toss to coat. Transfer to an 8”x 8” baking dish that has been coated with butter.
In the same bowl, combine 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 stick melted butter, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and then sprinkle over the fruit mixture. Bake at 350°F until crisp and bubbly and fruit is tender, about 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Easy Apple Tart
Thaw a package of frozen puff pastry according to package instructions and arrange the sheets on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Meanwhile, core and thinly slice 3 baking apples (Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp are good choices) and toss with about a cup of brown sugar and pinch of salt. Arrange the apple slices in the center of the pastry sheets and bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve with whipped cream. Voila!