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Perfect summer desserts

"strawberry-pie"Desserts should be a mandatory part of any meal. It finishes the entire dinner on a high note…or rather a sweet note for the palate. But great desserts do not have to be complicated. Some of the most simple desserts are the ones that often linger longest in the mind. Summer is the perfect season to start perfecting the simple dessert. Many of the following desserts can easily be prepared in advance and then chilled in the refrigerator to be served at a later time. In fact some of the desserts only improve with time. Here are six desserts that are guaranteed to be a success any time of the day.

Grilled Fruit with Balsalmic Vinegar Drizzle

Many people instinctually cringe at the thought of paring a fruit with vinegar but in reality it is simply delicious. The key to this dessert is finding fresh, seasonal fruit that is ripe. The best fruits for grilling are peaches, apricots, and pineapple. The flesh is firm enough to withstand the high temperature needed to sear grill marks but succulent enough to render plenty of juice. The trick for grilling the fruit is high temperature and a very light coating of vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil. For the vinegar drizzle simply reduce 1/2 cup of balsalmic vinegar until it coats the back of a spoon. Use it sparingly on the fruit. The vinegar will bring out the sweetness of the fruit.

Sugar Cookie Fruit Tart

Take a roll of sugar cookie dough and press into a tart pan. Bake for until golden brown in a 350 oven. Allow the sugar cookie to cool completely. While it is cooling whip 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar. Spread onto cooled sugar cookie tart and top with seasonal fruit. Good choices for this tart are: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Peanut Butter Silk Pie

This is an incredibly simple dessert that will have family members, friends and guest raving. It is a simple chocolate premade cookie crust. The filling is cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and peanut butter. The topping is whipped cream and garnishments can be chocolate shavings. It is light, creamy and incredibly rich in peanut butter taste. It can easily be made the day before and stored overnight in the refrigerator.

Fruit Trifle

Trifle is a traditional dessert made by layering cake, or cookies, with whipped cream and fruit. A great way to add dimension and flavor is through the whipped cream. Add in white chocolate to the whipped cream for a rich flavor. By using seasonal fruit the expensive of the dish is minute. A great combination with the white chocolate whipped cream are blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. Layer the serving cups with cubed pound cake, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of berries and then repeat.

"ice-cream"Ice Cream

Ice cream is a timeless summer dessert and it is incredibly simple to make. The hardest part of making ice cream is deciding on which base to use. A custard base will make the final dish richer while a milk base will be a fantastic background for fruits. The key in any great ice cream is using quality ingredients and not rushing the final product. There are very good quality ice cream makers on the market that take very little time. Allow the ice cream to set completely in the freezer before serving for best results.

Strawberry Pie

Though this is recommendation is for Strawberry Pie, any fruit can be used. It begins with a simple crust made from scratch or store bought. Fresh strawberries, cornstarch, water, sugar and whipping cream combine to create a flavorful dessert that takes almost no time to prepare. Simply combine the strawberries, cornstarch, water and sugar in a pot until it comes to a boil. Allow to cool and then pour into the baked pie shell. Top with fresh whipping cream and serve.

These summer desserts are perfect for any occasion and are incredibly simple to prepare. They take advantage of seasonal fruits and time saving measures. With these suggestions there is no reason not to include dessert with any meal.

This guest post is brought to you by Vern Marker, who is enrolled in culinary programs at Kendall College.