When the sunshine and blue skies decide to stick around for more than an hour or two and the days get longer, my thoughts tend to turn to dessert. For some reason I skip making and serving dessert more often in the winter, and the only reason I can think of for this is that all of my favourite fresh fruit I love to bake with isn’t in season.

Strawberries, peaches, blackberries, and blueberries – those little gems of the fruit family are nutritious on their own, but when you bake them up and wrap them in buttery crust or turn them into an icy-cool summer dessert? That’s when summer really kicks off at my house.

Get ready, because I’m going to tempt your taste buds with some truly amazing summer desserts.

Peach Cobbler


I lived down South for 3 years, and during my time in Georgia I worked really hard to perfect this cobbler recipe. If you want to cut calories you can use Stevia instead of sugar and the taste is still amazing. From the kitchens of Real Simple.

Ingredients:

8 peaches cut into quarters

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup heavy cream

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350° F. In a bowl, toss the peaches with ¼ cup of the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the flour; transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a food processor, combine the remaining 1¼ cups flour and ¼ cup sugar with the butter, baking powder, and salt. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the cream and pulse just until moistened (the dough will be slightly shaggy). Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the peaches.

Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown and bubbly, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Summer Fruit Pie


Strawberries and peaches together? You better believe it. This combination makes for one seriously delicious pie. The trick to getting the crust just right is to make sure your butter is really, really cold. You may even want to throw it into the freezer for 15 minutes before you use it. 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco), chilled

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

6 ripe peaches cut into wedges

1 pint strawberries cut in halves

1/4 cup instant tapioca

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

 

Directions

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, shortening, and ½ cup of the butter until the mixture forms pea-size crumbs. Break the egg into a measuring cup and beat lightly; add the vinegar and enough cold water to measure ½ cup. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, pulsing until a soft dough forms. 

Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least

1 hour. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk into a 14-inch circle. Place in a 2-inch-deep 9-inch pie plate. 

In a medium bowl, gently toss the peaches, strawberries, tapioca, lemon juice, and ½ cup of the sugar. Spoon the fruit mixture into the pie plate and dot with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter; refrigerate. 

Roll out the second disk of dough into a 14-inch circle. Drape it over the pie and trim the edge to a ½-inch overhang. Fold under, pressing to seal. Crimp the edge, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425° F. Lightly brush the top crust with cold water and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Cut several slashes into the top crust. Bake until golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° F and continue to bake until the juices bubble, 30 to 40 minutes more.

Transfer to a rack and cool for 2 hours before serving.

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches


Who says you have to go out and buy an ice cream sandwich when you get a craving? These Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches are quick and easy to prepare, and because they use your favourite cookie, even better than store bought. For the best ice cream sandwiches, use an ice cream maker to create your own strawberry ice cream.

Ingredients:

1/2 container strawberry ice cream, slightly softened

16 small crisp cookies (such as Pepperidge Farms Bordeaux, gingersnaps, or shortbread)

 

Directions

Sandwich the ice cream between the cookies. Serve immediately or freeze, covered, for up to 3 days.

Blackberry Crumb Cake


Every single summer I have to make at least one crumb cake, and if I had to choose a fruit to use for it, I’d go for Blackberries every time. Blackberries grow wild in parts of Canada so they’re plentiful, but if you can’t find some you can substitute strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or Saskatoon berries instead.

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING:

1/2 cup pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

FOR THE CAKE:

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound fresh blackberries (about 3 1/2 cups)

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350º F.

Make the crumb topping: In a food processor, pulse the pecans, brown sugar, flour, and butter until crumbly; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the food processor.

Make the cake: Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In the food processor, pulse the butter, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until crumbly. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the blackberries and crumb topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before serving.


Are you ready to make delicious strawberry, peach, and blackberry summer desserts? Check out Best Buy’s small appliances and pick up all the gear you need to get busy baking. Here are a few of my favourite summertime small appliances:

 
Make your own ice cream sandwiches with homemade ice cream whipped up in the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
 
Summer fruit pies will taste great, and if you serve them on the Rosanna Porcelain Pedestal they’ll look pretty too.
 
I use my Oxo Good Grips Apple Wedger for all types of fruit, and it makes slicing quick and easy.