If You Make Only One Dessert This Summer...
An outrageous icebox pie, plus four more warm-weather treats we're loving, from a supercrispy fruit crisp to a gorgeous granita.
The Unbeatable Pie and Ice Cream Combo
Icebox pie just sounds
right on a hot night, and there are few things better at the end of a mercilessly muggy day than opening up your icebox (er, refrigerator) and finding a cold, creamy concoction that hits both the pie and ice cream notes all at once. This version, from the new cookbook Fruitful: Four Seasons of Fresh Fruit Recipes
, uses fresh blackberries, which you macerate and fold gently into whipped cream, so their delicate, brambly flavor shines through. A graham-cracker crust adds the perfect crumbly counterpoint.
Get the recipe: Blackberry-Lemon Icebox Pie
The Fruit Crisp with One Amazing Tweak
It's time we all acknowledge that the best part of any fruit crisp is, well, the crisp. Yes, fruit is necessary (and at the height of summer, pretty darn delicious), but without a sweet and crackly topping, you'd just be eating a bowl of stewed peaches or blueberries. This brilliant rendition of the classic, from the new cookbook The Messy Baker: More Than 75 Delicious Recipes from a Real Kitchen
, uses panko bread crumbs to give the dessert an extra-crunchy top layer. Mixed with brown sugar, hazelnuts, sea salt and butter, it's practically a worthy dessert even without the fruit.
Get the recipe: Extra-Crispy Peach and Blueberry Crisp
A Cherry Dessert That's Not Pie
This just-sweet-enough cake is dotted with bright Bing cherries, but that's not the only thing that's unexpected about it. It's also made with polenta, aka cornmeal, which has a subtle crunch, and olive oil, so it has an unbelievably moist texture and lightly fragrant flavor. Another reason to love this dessert: It tastes better a day or two after you make it, once the oil has had some time to infuse its fruity flavor into the rest of the cake's ingredients.
Get the recipe: Cherry-Olive Oil Polenta Cake
The No-Ice-Cream-Maker-Necessary Frozen Treat
It's possible to make a frosty dessert without a machine (and don't worry, we're not suggesting you get a major upper-body workout churning your own ice cream). A granita is one of the most low-effort, high-reward desserts you can make in summer, since all you need is a blender; a shallow, freezer-safe dish; and, a fork. You puree watermelon, raspberries, wine, vanilla, lime juice and sugar; pour the mixture into the dish; and, set it in the freezer. Go back and give the granita a few scrapes, using a fork to break it up, every half hour, until it's frozen and flaky. Soon, you'll have a sorbet-like sweet that looks gorgeous and tastes incredibly refreshing.
Get the recipe: Watermelon and Wine Granita
Photo: Matt Wittmeyer Photography
The Homemade-ish Shortcake
If you're going to make strawberry shortcake at the height of berry season, get the most bang for your buck by spending your time on the strawberry part, and taking a shortcut with the biscuits. That's the thinking behind this treat, which is beautiful enough for a party but easy enough for anyone to make. Its base is made from refrigerated buttermilk-biscuit dough, and the filling consists of a homemade, five-ingredient strawberry frosting.
Get the recipe: Strawberry-Frosted Limoncello "Shortcakes"