Does summer make you want to eat every piece of fruit in sight? Fresh local produce is begging to be picked, while tropical fruits entice with their high water content. Eating fruits on their own is heavenly, but turning them into dessert? That’s even better.
It’s tough to go wrong with fruit-focused creations. The simplest berry crisp can taste divine. Still, there’s a way to make your seasonal sweets even better. Add another ingredient that also thrives in the summertime: fresh herbs.
From tarragon and berries to basil and pineapple, fresh herbs marry with familiar fruits to unlock brand new flavor profiles in the following recipes.
Whether you’re gathering from your garden or the grocery store, these desserts are ripe for the picking.
Lemon Yogurt Mousse with Quick Herbed Jam
This cloudlike dessert comes together in under an hour and gives ice cream a run for its money. A tangy, light yogurt mousse is topped with a thyme-infused strawberry jam and then garnished with (surprise!) black pepper.
Use any soft summer fruit to make this quick jam (plums, apricots, blueberries, etc.). Or, to save time, use your favorite store-bought jam and brighten it up with the herbs.
1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream or full-fat canned coconut milk, chilled
1/2 cup (125 mL) plain Greek yogurt
Zest of 1 lemon, plus more to garnish
2 Tbsp (30 mL) honey
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
2 cups (500 mL) sliced fresh strawberries or raspberries
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice
Ground black pepper, to serve
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment or in large bowl by hand with whisk, beat cream or coconut milk until soft peaks form. Add yogurt, lemon zest, honey and vanilla. Beat again until medium peaks form (don’t overwhip or cream will curdle). Spoon mousse into 4 glass jars or bowls, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.
In small saucepan over high heat, combine berries and thyme. When berries begin to sizzle and release some juice, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until berries are very soft. Stir in lemon juice and transfer to food processor or blender; puree until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.
Dollop jam on top of chilled mousse. Sprinkle with fresh pepper and additional lemon zest. Serve.
Each serving contains: 286 calories; 3 g protein; 23 g total fat (14 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 19 g total carbohydrates (14 g sugars, 0 g fiber); 38 mg sodium
Tarragon Berry Crumble
This dish is as delish for dessert as it is the next morning for breakfast. Tarragon has a gentle licorice-like taste, marrying well with succulent summer berries; for a different flavor, the tarragon can be replaced with basil or half the amount of thyme.
2 cups (500 mL) large flake rolled oats
1/4 cup (60 mL) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup
2 tsp (10 mL) chia seeds
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
4 cups (1 L) fresh mixed berries or blueberries
1/4 cup (60 mL) orange juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp (10 mL) arrowroot starch or cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
In medium bowl, mix oats, flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, chia seeds and salt until combined. Set aside.
In large bowl, gently mix berries, orange juice, tarragon and starch. Pour berry mixture into 8 x 8 x 2 in (20 x 20 x 5 cm) glass or ceramic baking dish. Dot crumble topping evenly over berries. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until berries are bubbling and topping is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Each serving contains: 346 calories; 6 g protein; 14 g total fat (10 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 53 g total carbohydrates (18 g sugars, 8 g fiber); 122 mg sodium
Tropical Fruit Salad with Herbed Syrup
Forget the boring, bland canned fruit salad of your youth and mix up this effortlessly elegant version instead. Basil brings a bright flavor, complimented further by lemon. Mint and honey smooth things out, while toasted almonds ground into a rich, nutty powder act as “adult sprinkles.”
1 cup (250 mL) raw almonds
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) honey
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh basil or tarragon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh mint, thinly sliced, plus more to garnish
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
6 kiwis, peeled and diced
1 cup (250 mL) plain Greek yogurt, for serving
Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C).
To make almond sprinkles, spread almonds on baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes, until fragrant. Cool completely. Add to food processor or blender along with cinnamon and salt and pulse until a powder forms, leaving a bit of texture. Transfer to airtight jar and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
For syrup, combine honey and lemon juice in small saucepan over medium heat until thinned out. Remove from heat, stir in basil or tarragon and mint and let sit for 10 minutes. Add to large bowl along with pineapple and kiwi. Toss to combine and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
To serve, spoon fruit salad into bowls, dollop with yogurt, spoon almond sprinkles on top and garnish with additional mint. Serve chilled.
Each serving contains: 283 calories; 10 g protein; 15 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 34 g total carbohydrates (23 g sugars, 6 g fiber); 126 mg sodium