Dessert in springtime is pretty much a no-brainer. With all the delicious fruits that are becoming seasonally available, dessert can be thrown together in just five minutes, though with a bit more effort (and a little more time), you can create something truly extraordinary and impressive. To get your cooking creativity pumping, here are three ideas for seasonal, springtime desserts that are quick, easy and delicious. Feel free to sub things that are available where you are and to keep making these recipes well into the summer, using different fruits each time!
5 Minute Dessert: Cinnamon Toast with Ricotta & Fresh Stone Fruit
I love this recipe with stone fruit -- like nectarines, peaches or apricots -- but you can use whatever fruits you have available. If your fruit hasn't taken on that syrupy summer sweetness yet, consider grilling it or sautéeing it for a few minutes before using it in this recipe.
4 slices of whole grain sandwich bread
1 tablespoon butter, softened but not melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons organic ricotta cheese
2 peaches or nectarines, or 4 apricots
Toast the bread. While the bread is toasting, combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon until you have a spreadable paste. Remove the toast from the toaster and spread the butter over each slice. Add one tablespoon of ricotta per slice of bread, and spread it into an even layer.
Slice the fruit thinly and arrange over the top of the toast. Garnish with a sprinkle more of cinnamon, if desired.
15 Minute Dessert: Balsamic Strawberry "Tiramisú"
Italian tiramisú is typically made with ladyfinger cookies, coffee, chocolate, mascarpone and alcohol of some sort. Try a lightened-up version of this dish, perfect for spring, with strawberries and balsamic. Be sure to use fresh, organic eggs, as the yolks will not be cooked in this recipe.
1 pound strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 pound mascarpone
5 egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
Hull the strawberries and thinly slice them. Place them in a bowl with the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Toss together and leave to mascerate while you prepare the other ingredients.
Whisk together the mascarpone, egg yolks and sugar. Prepare a large dish for serving or several individually-sized dishes. Ladle a layer of the mascarpone mixture into the bottom of the dish.
After at least 5 minutes of masceration, drain the liquid from the strawberries into a shallow dish. Dip the ladyfingers in the liquid on either side and make a layer of ladyfingers over the top of the mascarpone. Continue layering, so that the tiramisu is comprised of: bottom layer mascarpone, ladyfingers, mascarpone, strawberries, ladyfingers, mascarpone, strawberries, mascarpone. Reserve a few strawberries to use as a garnish on top.
30 Minute Dessert: Clafoutis
Clafoutis is a French dessert typically made with whole cherries. The pit is left in the cherries, which not only makes the dish easier to make, but also allows for the almond flavor of the cherry pit to come through in the final dish. Clafoutis (or flognarde, if another fruit is used) is an easy dish to make with any fruit you like. Be sure to add extra sugar if necessary for early-season fruit; as written, this clafoutis recipe's custard is just barely sweet, the perfect foil for spring fruit.
1/3 cup (40 grams) flour
2/3 cup (160 grams) milk
1/8 cup (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 cup fruit (cherries, peaches, apricots, raspberries... )
1 tablespoon butter, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and slowly whisk in half of the milk. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla and salt, and whisk until well combined. Add the last of the milk and set aside.
Lay the fruit into the bottom of a baking dish. Pour the batter over the top, and add thin slices of butter over the surface. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the clafoutis has puffed up and begins to brown around the edges. As soon as you remove it from the oven, it will fall. Serve warm or cold (not hot).
For more quick fruit desserts, consider...