Favorite Summer Fruit Recipes
Strawberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines...and more!
It’s that time of year (unless you live in another hemisphere from me) when summer fruits burst forth on the scene: strawberries, cherries, nectarines, plums, peaches, blueberries, and raspberries, just to name a few. I spend much of the year waiting for them to show up at the market, and I don’t discriminate: I like any and all of them, and the following recipes are some of my favorite ways to use them!
Strawberries are currently in full swing, and soon strawberries will be so abundant at the market you can often score a deal if you buy a flat or several baskets at once. When I do, I make Strawberry Jam, which is a great way to save and savor the season during the rest of the year. Wanna mix things up? Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam is an equally tasty way to do just that.
When I learned that Chambéryzette, a classic French apéritif made with Alpine strawberries, was easily made at home with blanc vermouth, and once I took that first sip of my homemade strawberry apéritif, I knew there would be a Strawberry Spritz, or two (or three), in my summer future. I used Dolin French blanc vermouth for authenticity’s sake, and to keep it French—but bianco vermouth, from our neighbors in Italy, works well, too.
Want to go Mexican instead of French with those summer strawberries? Strawberry Margaritas are perfect for summer BBQs and apéro hours, and celebrate the bounty of berries.
A number of baked fruit desserts have unusual names, from grunts to slumps, which often confuse non-native English speakers (and truthfully, most native English speakers as well), but there’s nothing confusing about this Blueberry Buckle with Lemon Syrup. It melds tasty blueberries with a tangy lemon syrup and will please even the toughest cake-lover, like the one I used to work with who’d go off the rails if a cake was dry. William…if you’re reading this, this cake is for you!
This newsletter is an ad-free, reader-supported publication. To receive posts, sign up to become a free subscriber…or upgrade to a paid subscription to receive all posts and recipes!
Like blueberry muffins? This Blueberry Muffin Cake, via baker Zoë François, tastes like dessert but is a cake that no one will mind waking up to. There’s an ongoing debate about what is a muffin vs. cake. This cake, with the flavor of a muffin, ends that discussion—they can be both…in one neat wedge!
Go rogue with my Summer Fruit Tart with Almond Cream, aka frangipane. A layer of almond cream underneath baked fruit ensures everything stays together when sliced, so everything makes its way to your mouth in each forkful. I love it with fresh apricots, which get tangier—and tastier—when baked, along with a handful of raspberries or another favorite berry.
Galettes have taken over the world, including in France, where they’re usually just called tartes. Strawberries and rhubarb pair beautifully in this Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette. But whatever you want to call it, vanilla ice cream alongside isn’t optional!
If you want to go all-in with the berries, this Blacker Berry Galette is loaded with them, and only them.
Speaking of galettes, and apricots, this Summer Fruit galette with a layer of almondy frangipane is truly picture perfect. (Well, if I do say so myself…) Sure, I’ll take some credit for it, but with fruits and cherries that are so beautiful, I’ll give Mère Nature most of the credit for her colorful contribution.
Got an ice cream machine? Churn things up with this homemade Strawberry Frozen Yogurt, a lighter take on ice cream. Avoiding dairy? Try my vegan strawberry ice cream. (In case you don’t have a machine, you can use these guidelines to make ice cream without a machine.)
Did you know that most of the tart flavor of plums is in the skins? That’s the reason plums are often cooked for desserts, including in this tart/sweet Plum Sorbet. It’s colorful enough to enjoy on its own but stands up well to a multicolored side of berries.
If I had to choose one fruit dessert that was my all-time favorite, it would be a big bowl of mixed berries very lightly sweetened with just a touch of sugar. I grew up eating that with a dollop of sour cream, which was heaven in a bowl. Now that I’m all grown up (well…for the most part), I’ve turned those berries into a full-on dessert, Mixed Berry Shortcakes, with a dollop of crème chantilly (whipped cream) and a buttery, crunchy-topped biscuit, above and below.
Since we’re talking about favorites, plums are perhaps my favorite summer fruit. Like apricots, they bake up tart, and #imho are even tastier than when they’re fresh. This gently Spiced Plum Cake with Toffee Glaze has a buttery, caramelly drizzle over crusty almonds on top.
Inspired by a wonderful vintage French cookbook by Chef Roger Vergé, this Cherry Clafoutis is truly a classic this time of year; everyone shopping at the marchés is bringing home some cherries to make this traditional, yet simple, French favorite. It’s normally made with unpitted cherries, but it is more luxurious with pitted cherries, even if it’s debatable whether or not the pits add flavor.
(I contend that they don’t, as the flavorful kernel inside the cherry, the noyau, is surrounded by a thick, hard shell that I can’t imagine any flavor getting through. But happy to hear otherwise in the comments from anyone who’s done a side-by-side tasting!) 🙂
Speaking of cherries, during their relatively brief season (although, to be honest, if they were in season 11 months out of the year, I’d say they weren’t around long enough…), this Cherry Compote is my not-so-secret way to savor, and save, the best of summer cherries. Yes, they freeze beautifully. And yes, you can use a paperclip or bobby pin or straw or whatever to fish out the pits, but feel free to go ahead and treat yourself to a cherry pitter.
Plum Flaugnarde is the lesser-known cousin of cherry clafoutis, which I like to make with a jumble of plums. I was fortunate enough to come across several wild plums trees in the countryside, which I foraged from over the years until I returned one year and found they’d been cut down. So I make do with the beautiful plums from the market, which include tiny Mirabelles and flavor-packed Reine Claudes, and encourage you to do your own foraging, whether it’s in the forest or at your local greenmarket or grocery store, to make this easy-to-bake classic.
For most of us, it’s hard to think of summer fruit desserts without talking about Peach Shortcakes. I don’t apologize for piling on the peaches and sometimes gild the lily with a little butterscotch sauce to boot. Whatever you do, do not be stingy with the peaches. I use a mix of freshly sliced peaches and a coulis (uncooked sauce) of pureed peaches to keep things moist, juicy…and very, very peachy.