Each month of summer offers delicious berries and fruits to be baked into pies and cobblers, served fresh in meringue shells, topping cakes or tarts, or frozen into ice cream.

Whether it’s a backyard barbeque with family or an intimate dinner with friends, summer desserts begin and end with seasonal fresh fruit. Straight off the vine or just plucked from a tree, summer berries, cherries and peaches provide the perfect flavors for desserts that are warm from the oven or refreshingly cool and sweet. With so much luscious fresh fruit available, each month of the summer offers the chance to create something different.June bearing strawberries

With the warm weather of June comes the ripening of bright red strawberries. Aromatic and heart-shaped, strawberries are famously delicious with cream: a dessert that itself speaks of the good life. But strawberries are more versatile than that:

  • On hot summer days, homemade strawberry ice cream is both refreshing and fun.
  • Marinated strawberries in balsamic vinegar create a surprisingly delicious and sophisticated dessert.
  • Strawberry shortcake, which originated from the Native Americans who baked crushed strawberries into a cornmeal cake, is a favorite dessert to round out a light summer meal.

Strawberries aren’t the only fruit worth noticing in the early days of summer: bananas are a perennial favorite and also pair nicely with cream.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients

  • 3 pints fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups whipped heavy cream

Directions

  1. Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8 inch round cake pan.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.
  5. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream.

Fruited Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chopped strawberries

Directions

  1. Combine condensed milk, milk, cream, vanilla, salt and fruit in freezer canister of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and large berries cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. Place strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle vinegar over strawberries, and sprinkle with sugar. Stir gently to combine. Cover, and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour but not more than 4 hours. Just before serving, grind pepper over berries.

Most Spectacular Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries, halved
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.) Lay one crust into a 9 inch pie pan, making sure the edges extend slightly beyond the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together white and brown sugars, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond extract. Add the strawberries to the mixture and gently stir to coat thoroughly. Pour into the crust, mounding it slightly in the middle.
  3. Cut the second crust into 1/2 inch strips and weave into a lattice over the filling. Roll up the extra dough on the bottom crust to seal down the lattice strips, then press with fingers to form a fluted edge. Dot with butter in the open squares. For a golden crust, brush lattice lightly with milk, then sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 bananas, sliced

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.
  2. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.
  3. Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes. Chill for an hour.

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